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The Thinktank => Min/Max It! => Topic started by: JaronK on August 05, 2009, 08:50:29 AM

Title: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 05, 2009, 08:50:29 AM
This is a repost of the earlier thread, which is being locked due to approaching 50 pages.  The last thread can be found here:  http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0

My general philosophy is that the only balance that really matters in D&D is the interclass balance between the various PCs in a group.  If the group as a whole is very powerful and flexible, the DM can simply up the challenge level and complexity of the encounters.  If it's weak and inflexible, the DM can lower the challenge level and complexity.  Serious issues arise when the party is composed of some members which are extremely powerful and others which are extremely weak, leading to a situation where the DM has two choices: either make the game too easy for the strong members, or too hard for the weak members.  Neither is desireable.  Thus, this system is created for the following purposes:

1)  To provide a ranking system so that DMs know roughly the power of the PCs in their group

2)  To provide players with knowledge of where their group stands, power wise, so that they can better build characters that fit with their group.

3)  To help DMs who plan to use house rules to balance games by showing them where the classes stand before applying said house rules (how many times have we seen DMs pumping up Sorcerers or weakening Monks?).

4)  To help DMs judge what should be allowed and what shouldn't in their games.  It may sound cheesy when the Fighter player wants to be a Half Minotaur Water Orc, but if the rest of his party is Druid, Cloistered Cleric, Archivist, and Artificer, then maybe you should allow that to balance things out.  However, if the player is asking to be allowed to be a Venerable White Dragonspawn Dragonwrought Kobold Sorcerer and the rest of the party is a Monk, a Fighter, and a Rogue, maybe you shouldn't let that fly.

5)  To help homebrewers judge the power and balance of their new classes.  Pick a Tier you think your class should be in, and when you've made your class compare it to the rest of the Tier.  Generally, I like Tier 3 as a balance point, but I know many people prefer Tier 4.  If it's stronger than Tier 1, you definitely blew it.

This post is NOT intended to state which class is "best" or "sucks."  It is only a measure of the power and versitliity of classes for balance purposes.

Psionic classes are mostly absent simply because I don't have enough experience with them. Other absent classes are generally missing because I don't know them well enough to comment, though if I've heard a lot about them they're listed in itallics. Note that "useless" here means "the class isn't particularly useful for dealing with situation X" not "it's totally impossible with enough splat books to make a build that involves that class deal with situation X." "Capable of doing one thing" means that any given build does one thing, not that the class itself is incapable of being built in different ways. Also, "encounters" here refers to appropriate encounters... obviously, anyone can solve an encounter with purely mechanical abilities if they're level 20 and it's CR 1.

Also note that with enough optimization, it's generally possible to go up a tier in terms of tier descriptions, and if played poorly you can easily drop a few tiers, but this is a general averaging, assuming that everyone in the party is playing with roughly the same skill and optimization level.  As a rule, parties function best when everyone in the party is within 2 Tiers of each other (so a party that's all Tier 2-4 is generally fine, and so is a party that's all Tier 3-5, but a party that has Tier 1 and Tier 5s in it may have issues).

As a further note, some classes have specific variants or options to them that drastically change their abilities.  These classes are noted on multiple tiers.  If a variant is not mentioned, it's in the same Tier as the standard class (for example, the Cloistered Cleric is not mentioned because it's T1 like the Cleric.  The same goes for the Battle Sorcerer and the Wilderness Rogue).  Classes in blue are on the high side of their Tier and can easily move up.  Classes in red are on the low side of their Tier and can easily move down.

The Tier System

Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played with skill, can easily break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat or plenty of house rules, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

Examples: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Archivist, Artificer, Erudite (Spell to Power Variant)

Tier 2: Has as much raw power as the Tier 1 classes, but can't pull off nearly as many tricks, and while the class itself is capable of anything, no one build can actually do nearly as much as the Tier 1 classes. Still potentially campaign smashers by using the right abilities, but at the same time are more predictable and can't always have the right tool for the job. If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and easily world shattering, but not in quite so many ways.  Note that the Tier 2 classes are often less flexible than Tier 3 classes... it's just that their incredible potential power overwhelms their lack in flexibility.

Examples: Sorcerer, Favored Soul, Psion, Binder (with access to online vestiges), Eurdite (No Spell to Power)

Tier 3: Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate, or capable of doing all things, but not as well as classes that specialize in that area. Occasionally has a mechanical ability that can solve an encounter, but this is relatively rare and easy to deal with. Can be game breaking only with specific intent to do so.  Challenging such a character takes some thought from the DM, but isn't too difficult. Will outshine any Tier 5s in the party much of the time.

Examples: Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Crusader, Bard, Swordsage, Binder (without access to the summon monster vestige), Wildshape Varient Ranger, Duskblade, Factotum, Warblade, Psychic Warrior

Tier 4: Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribute to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well.

Examples: Rogue, Barbarian, Warlock, Warmage, Scout, Ranger, Hexblade, Adept, Spellthief, Marshal, Fighter (Zhentarium Variant)

Tier 5: Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well, or so unfocused that they have trouble mastering anything, and in many types of encounters the character cannot contribute. In some cases, can do one thing very well, but that one thing is very often not needed. Has trouble shining in any encounter unless the encounter matches their strengths. DMs may have to work to avoid the player feeling that their character is worthless unless the entire party is Tier 4 and below. Characters in this tier will often feel like one trick ponies if they do well, or just feel like they have no tricks at all if they build the class poorly.

Examples: Fighter, Monk, CA Ninja, Healer, Swashbuckler, Rokugan Ninja, Soulknife, Expert, OA Samurai, Paladin, Knight, CW Samurai (with Imperious Command available)

Tier 6: Not even capable of shining in their own area of expertise. DMs will need to work hard to make encounters that this sort of character can contribute in with their mechanical abilities. Will often feel worthless unless the character is seriously powergamed beyond belief, and even then won't be terribly impressive. Needs to fight enemies of lower than normal CR. Class is often completely unsynergized or with almost no abilities of merit. Avoid allowing PCs to play these characters.

Examples: CW Samurai (without Imperious Command available), Aristocrat, Warrior, Commoner

And then there's the Truenamer, which is just broken (as in, the class was improperly made and doesn't function appropriately).  Highly optimized (to the point of being able to spam their abilities) a Truenamer would be around Tier 4, but with lower optimization it rapidly drops to Tier 6.

Now, obviously these rankings only apply when mechanical abilities are being used... in a more social oriented game where talking is the main way of solving things (without using diplomacy checks), any character can shine. However, when the mechanical abilities of the classes in question are being used, it's a bad idea to have parties with more than two tiers of difference.

It is interesting to note the disparity between the core classes... one of the reasons core has so many problems. If two players want to play a nature oriented shape shifter and a general sword weilder, you're stuck with two very different tiered guys in the party (Fighter and Druid). Outside of core, it's possible to do it while staying on close Tiers... Wild Shape Variant Ranger and Warblade, for example.

Note that a few classes are right on the border line between tiers.  Duskblade is very low in Tier 3, and Hexblade is low in Tier 4.  Fighter is high in Tier 5, and CW Samurai is high in Tier 6 (obviously, since it's pretty much strictly better than the same tier Warrior).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 05, 2009, 08:51:24 AM
FAQ:

Q:  So, which is the best Tier?

A:  In the end, the best Tier is the Tier that matches the rest of your party and appeals to you.  If your party is Fighter, Rogue, Healer, Barbarian, then Tier 4 or 5 is going to be the best.  If your party is Sorcerer, Beguiler, Crusader, Swordsage, then Tier 2-3 will be best.  Really, if you're having fun and no one in the party feels either useless or overpowered, then you're doing it right.  Personally, I prefer Tier 3, but I still match to whatever party I'm in if I join after other characters are created.

That said, here's something that might help some DMs decide which tier is best for their campaigns:

[spoiler]So, I was thinking about the whole "what is the best Tier" thing.  And of course it varies by campaign, but I'll talk about it a bit.

Tier 1 is the best tier if you want the PCs to be super powered... similar to an Exalted campaign (the RPG, not BoED).  I've heard of one great campaign where the DM made the only character creation rule be that your character had to be evil and be after immortality.  They had a Wizard who turned into a Lich, a Druid who used Reincarnation cheese, and so on.  When they hit level 20 after having totally thrashed the campaign world, the DM ended the campaign and started a new one.  It was 1000 years in the future, and the evil characters were all epic now, and ruling the whole land.  The players had to start over as first level good characters and try to defeat their old PCs.  Neat.  Also, Clerics and Druids can be very nice for newbies because any poor build choices they make early on really won't matter that much later... sure, Weapon Focus Scimitar on the Druid may have been dumb, but you can turn into a Dire Bear so who cares?  And if you picked the wrong spells today, that's okay... pick better ones tomorow.  That said, I only recommend this tier for veteran DMs who can keep the PCs in line in agreeable ways, as campaigns can be broken very quickly by the unpredictable and powerful tools available to the players.  Be aware that house rules or gentleman's agreements will become necessary at this level when the players master their classes, as these classes will become absolutely broken if actually allowed to play by RAW with no limits.

Tier 2... I'm not sure how many people would specifically want this one because it's pretty small, but it does have the advantage of giving you big power spells while still being at least a bit more predictable with your tricks.  Newbies who might be overwhelmed with the number of spells constantly available to Clerics and Druids and Wizards might be more comfortable if they don't have to re choose their spells every day, so it might be best for them.  Note that because the Tier 2 classes have as much raw power as the Tier 1s, they too will require gentleman's agreements, house rules, or simply players who don't go all out to avoid game breakage when the players learn their classes.

Tier 3 is the best tier for me.  Everyone in the party has great tricks and can still throw some big surprises at me when I'm DMing, but everyone else still needs a party to work with them, which makes it easier to make sure specific party members have chances to shine.  I like the versitility of players at this level, and power wise they're still managable without flat out saying "no, you can't do that."  It's possible to do game breaking things with Tier 3s, but that's much less of a danger as you can't really break the game without trying with a Tier 3 class (whereas any Sorcerer who wanted to make a home base and took Genesis might suddenly say "hey wait a minute, this spell can mess with time traits!" and suddenly break the game with little warning).

Tier 4 is best for a lot of people too.  At this Tier you can start predicting what the players will do in a situation, so DMs can better gauge how encounters will go.  That Barbarian is going to deal a lot of damage through charging... if you want a hard encounter, use difficult terrain or whatever, and if you want an easier encounter, make sure he's got a target he can charge.  The more flexible Tier 4s will be less predictable but they won't blow you away with a sudden trick you didn't see coming... that Rogue may have awesome tricks with his UMD, but only with items that you give him.  Plus, teamwork is definitely important at this level.  That Barbarian may be awesome in combat, but when it's time for stealth, he's not going to shine, and someone else will.  As such, this is definitely a nice tier for beginning DMs who want to have solid control over their parties without fully railroading.

Tier 5 is probably best for new DMs, especially when dealing with veteran players.  PCs at this point are getting very predictable.  That Fighter with Improved Trip and a Spiked Chain will trip enemies, the Healer will be a healbot, the Monk can run fast and make a lot of attacks, but generally speaking you know what's going to happen in advance, especially in combat.  This predictability makes it easy for a DM to guide the plot where he wants without it looking like railroading, as the limitations of the classes provide the railroad tracks for you.  If the PCs are supposed to kill a dragon by going in through his cave, that's what they'll do... they're not going to Love's Pain nuke said dragon from miles away and then float ethereally through his lair or something.

Tier 6 is best when what you want is a fun little low powered game.  The PCs are very limited, so challenges should be primarily player-centric in nature, since the classes themselves won't create many good solutions to situations.    Puzzles that the players must solve, fights that are more about organization than damage dealing, and so on.  This tier works very well for veterans who want a challenge and newbies who want more fluff than crunch when playing, as classes don't have many abilities to get confused by (except the Samurai of course).  Really, if you want to play at this low power level, you may be more satisfied playing a game like A|State than D&D, but it's worth doing once in a while.[/spoiler]

Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.

Q:  I totally saw a [Class X] perform far better than a [Class Y] even though you list it as lower.  What gives?

A:  This system assumes that everything other than mechanics is totally equal.  It's a ranking of the mechanical classes themselves, not of the players who use that class.  As long as the players are of equal skill and optimize their characters roughly the same amount, it's fine.  If one player optimizes a whole lot more than the other, that will shift their position on the chart.  Likewise, if one player is more skilled than the other, or campaign situations favor one playstyle over another, classes can shift around.  Remember, this is a rough ranking and a guideline, not a perfect ruler.

Q:  So what a minute, how can I use it then?  My players all play differently.

A:  First, determine what you'd say is the average optimization and skill level in the group, then make adjustments for people who are noticably different from that.  I can't give examples of skill level, but here's an example for optimization.  Imagine for a moment that your party has a Cleric with DMM: Persistant Spell, a Fighter with Shock Trooper and Leap Attack, a Beguiler with a Mindbender dip and Mindsight, and a traditional Sword and Board Fighter.  Now, the first three are pretty optimized, but the fourth is pretty weak.   So in that case, what you've actually got is a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and a Tier 6, with that second Fighter being Tier 6 because he's far less optimized than the rest of the group.  However, if your group is instead a healbot Cleric, a Beguiler who hasn't figured out how to use illusions effectively, a Sword and Board Fighter, and a Shock Trooper/Leap Attack Fighter, then the charge based Fighter is the odd one out.  Bump him up a Tier... maybe even 2.  So now you've got a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and maybe a Tier 4.  Remember, this whole thing is about intra party balance... there's no objective balancing, because each campaign is different.

Also, a simple way I've used it is this: in my regular gaming group, I've got one player who optimizes like crazy and likes making characters for other players.  And then I've got a bunch of people who make their own characters, and they're less optimized.  I can therefor tell people that they can be a Tier 4 class if they let him make their characters, or Tier 3 if they make their own.  It's worked out pretty well.

Q:  Why didn't you rank this from best to worst, like Wizard first, Archivist second, and so on?  Why tiers?

A:  There are too many variables in the game to actually rank the classes from best to worst.  If the DM allows the Archivist to just research any spell he wants and is including the Divine Magician and Divine Bard varients in his game, plus the other ways for Archivists to get all Wizard/Sorcerer spells, then the Archivist is clearly stronger than the Wizard.  If not, the Wizard may be stronger than the Archivist.  Factors like that, plus questions of which books are allowed, what the wealth by level is, and what access to magic shops is allowed to the players... these things make it impossible to make a specific ranking of best to worst without assuming a heck of a lot, and I wanted this system to work for the vast majority of games.  As such, I ranked them in tiers of power... regardless of the general campaign, an Archivist and a Wizard will be reasonably close to each other in power, and both will be far stronger than a Monk, for example.  I do still have to make a few basic assumptions, such as that player skill and optimziation are reasonably close and that for the most part RAW is being played, but that's about it.

Also, the purpose of this system isn't to say "X class is the best!"  It's to allow players and DMs to maintain intraparty balance... for that purpose, tiers are specific enough.

Q:  So what exactly is this system measuring?  Raw Power?  Then why is the Barbarian lower than the Duskblade, when the Barbarian clearly does more damage?

A:  The Tier System is not specifically ranking Power or Versitility (though those are what ends up being the big factors). It's ranking the ability of a class to achieve what you want in any given situation. Highly versitile classes will be more likely to efficiently apply what power they have to the situation, while very powerful classes will be able to REALLY help in specific situations. Classes that are both versitile and powerful will very easily get what they want by being very likely to have a very powerful solution to the current problem. This is what matters most for balance.

For example, here's how the various Tiers might deal with a specific set of situations, cut to spoilers due to size:

[spoiler]Situation 1: A Black Dragon has been plaguing an area, and he lives in a trap filled cave. Deal with him.

Situation 2: You have been tasked by a nearby country with making contact with the leader of the underground slave resistance of an evil tyranical city state, and get him to trust you.

Situation 3: A huge army of Orcs is approaching the city, and should be here in a week or so. Help the city prepare for war.

Okay, so, here we go.

Tier 6: A Commoner. Situation 1: If he's REALLY optimized, he could be a threat to the dragon, but a single attack from the dragon could take him out too. He can't really offer help getting to said dragon. He could fill up the entire cave with chickens, but that's probably not a good idea. Really, he's dead weight unless his build was perfectly optimized for this situation (see my Commoner charger build for an example). Situation 2: Well, without any stealth abilities or diplomacy, he's not too handy here, again unless he's been exactly optimized for this precise thing (such as through Martial Study to get Diplomacy). Really, again his class isn't going to help much here. Situation 3: Again, no help from his class, though the chicken thing might be amusing if you're creative.

Tier 5: A Fighter. Situation 1: If he's optimized for this sort of thing (a tripper might have trouble, though a charger would be handy if he could get off a clear shot, and an archer would likely work) he can be a threat during the main fight, but he's probably just about useless for sneaking down through the cave and avoiding any traps the dragon has set out without alerting said dragon. Most likely the party Rogue would want to hide him in a bag of holding or something. Once in the fight if he's optimized he'll be solid, but if not (if he's a traditional SAB build or a dual weilding monkey grip type) he's going to be a liability in the combat (though not as bad as the Commoner). Situation 2: As the commoner before, his class really won't help here. His class just doesn't provide any useful tools for the job. It's possible (but very unlikely) that he's optimized in a way that helps in this situation, just as with the Commoner. Situation 3: Again, his class doesn't help much, but at least he could be pretty useful during the main battle as a front line trooper of some sort. Hack up the enemy and rack up a body count.

Tier 4: The Rogue. Situation 1: Well he can certainly help get the party to the dragon, even if he's not totally optimized for it. His stealth and detection abilities will come in handy here, and if he puts the less stealthy people in portable holes and the like he's good to go. During the combat he's likely not that helpful (it's hard to sneak attack a dragon) but if he had a lot of prep time he might have been able to snag a scroll or wand of Shivering Touch, in which case he could be extremely helpful... he just has to be really prepared and on the ball, and the resources have to be available in advance. He's quite squishy though, and that dragon is a serious threat. Situation 2: With his stealth and diplomacy, he's all over this. Maybe not 100% perfect, but still pretty darn solid. An individual build might not have all the necessary skills, but most should be able to make do. Situation 3: Perhaps he can use Gather Information and such to gain strategic advantages before the battle... that would be handy. There's a few he's pretty likely to be able to pull off. He might even be able to use Diplomacy to buff the army a bit and at least get them into a good morale situation pre battle. Or, if he's a different set up, he could perhaps go out and assassinate a few of the orc commanders before the fight, which could be handy. And then during the fight he could do the same. It's not incredible, but it's something.

Tier 3: The Beguiler. Situation 1: Again, getting through the cave is easy, perhaps easier with spell support. And again, if he's really prepared in advance, Shivering Touch via UMD is a possibility. But he's also got spells that could be quite useful here depending on the situation, and if he's optimized heavily, this is going to be pretty easy... Shadowcraft Mage, perhaps? Or Earth Dreamer? Either way, he's got a lot of available options, though like the Rogue he's somewhat squishy (and that Dragon won't fall for many illusions with his Blindsense) so he still needs that party support. Situation 2: Again, with his skills he's all over this one, plus the added ability to cast spells like charm makes this one much easier, allowing him to make contacts in the city quickly while he figures out where this guy is. Situation 3: Like the Rogue, he can get strategic advantages and be all over the Diplomacy. He's not quite as good at assassinating people if he takes that route (though sneaking up invisible and then using a coup de gras with a scythe is pretty darn effective), but using illusions during the fight will create some serious chaos in his favor. A single illusion of a wall of fire can really disrupt enemy formations, for example.

Tier 2: The Sorcerer. Situation 1: It really depends on the Sorcerer's spell load out. If he's got Greater Floating Disk, Spectral Hand, and Shivering Touch, this one's going to be easy as pie, since he can just float down (and carry his party in the process) to avoid many traps, then nail the dragon in one shot from a distance. If he doesn't he'd need scrolls with the same issues that the UMD Rogue and Beguiler would need. If he's got Explosive Runes he could create a bomb that would take out the Dragon in one shot. If he's got Polymorph he could turn the party melee into a Hydra for extra damage. If he's got Alter Self he could turn himself into a Skulk to get down there sneakily. Certainly, it's possible that the Sorcerer could own this scenario... if he has the right spells known. That's always the hard part for a Sorcerer. Situation 2: Again, depends on the spell. Does he have divinations that will help him know who's part of the resistance and who's actually an evil spy for the Tyranical Govenerment? Does he have charm? Alter Self would help a ton here too for disguise purposes if he has it. Once again, the options exist that could totally make this easy, but he might not have those options. Runestaffs would help a bit, but not that much. Scrolls would help too, but that requires access to them and good long term preparation. Situation 3: Again, does he have Wall of Iron or Wall of Stone to make fortifications? Does he have Wall of Fire to disrupt the battlefield? How about Mind Rape and Love's Pain to kill off the enemy commanders without any ability to stop him? Does he have Blinding Glory on his spell list, or Shapechange, or Gate? Well, maybe. He's got the power, but if his spells known don't apply here he can't do much. So, maybe he dominates this one, maybe not.

Tier 1: The Wizard. Situation 1: Memorize Greater Floating Disk, Shivering Touch, and Spectral Hand. Maybe Alter Self too for stealth reasons. Kill dragon. Memorize Animate Dead too, because Dragons make great minions (seriously, there's special rules for using that spell on dragons). Sweet, you have a new horsie! Or, you know, maybe you Mind Rape/Love's Pain and kill the dragon before he even knows you exist, then float down and check it out. Or maybe you create a horde of the dead and send them in, triggering the traps with their bodies. Or do the haunt shift trick and waltz in with a hardness of around 80 and giggle. Perhaps you cast Genesis to create a flowing time plane and then sit and think about what to do for a year while only a day passes on the outside... and cast Explosive Runes every day during that year. I'm sure you can come up with something. It's really your call. Situation 2: Check your spell list. Alter Self and Disguise Self can make you look like whoever you need to look like. Locate Creature has obvious utility. Heck, Contact Other Plane could be a total cheating method of finding the guy you're trying to find. Clairvoyance is also handy. It's all there. Situation 3: Oh no, enemy army! Well, if you've optimized for it, there's always the locate city bomb (just be careful not to blow up the friendly guys too). But if not, Love's Pain could assassinate the leaders. Wall of Iron/Stone could create fortifications, or be combined with Fabricate to armour up some of the troops. Or you could just cast Blinding Glory and now the entire enemy army is blind with no save for caster level hours. Maybe you could Planar Bind an appropriate outsider to help train the troops before the battle. Push comes to shove, Gate in a Solar, who can cast Miracle (which actually does have a "I win the battle" option)... or just Shapechange into one, if you prefer.[/spoiler]

So yeah, as you move up the Tiers you go from weak, unadaptable, and predictable (that Commoner's got very few useful options) to strong, adaptable, and unpredictable (who knows what that Wizard is going to do?). A Wizard can always apply a great deal of strength very efficiently, whether it's Shivering Touch on the Dragon or Blinding Glory on an enemy army. The Sorcerer has the power, but he may not have power that he can actually apply to the situation. The Beguiler has even less raw power and may have to use UMD to pull it off. The Rogue is even further along that line. And the Fighter has power in very specific areas which are less likely to be useful in a given situation.

That's really what the Tiers are about. How much does this class enable you to achieve what you want in a given situation? The more versitile your power, the more likely that the answer to that question is "a lot." If you've got tons of power and limited versitility (that's you, Sorcerers and charging Barbarians) then sometimes the answer is a lot, but sometimes it's not much. If you've got tons of versitility but limited power (hi, Rogue!) then it's often "a decent amount." If you've got little of both (Commoner!) then yeah, it's often "it doesn't."

And of course reversing that and applying it to DMs, you get "how many effective options does this class give for solving whatever encounters I throw at them?" For Commoners, the answer may be none. For Fighters, it's sometimes none, sometimes 1, maybe 2, but you generally know in advance what it will be (if he's got Improved Trip and a Spiked Chain and all that, he's probably going to be tripping stuff, just a hint). For Wizards, it's tons, and they're all really potent, and you have no idea how he's going to do it. Does he blind the enemy army or assassinate all its leaders or turn into a Solar and just arbitrarily win the battle? There's no way to know until he memorizes his spells for the day (and even then you might not see it coming).

Q:  But what about dips?  I mean, I rarely see anyone playing single class characters.  What would a Barbarian 1/Fighter 6 be, for example?

A:  It's pretty simple.  This system is paying attention to the fact that people are more likely to take the early levels of a class than the later levels, either because they simply don't get to a level where they'd see the late levels, or because of dipping.  Generally speaking, a mix of classes should end up being as high up as the most powerful class in the mix if it's optimized, or somewhere in the middle of the classes used if not very optimized, and below them both if it's really strangely done.  A Barbarian 1/Fighter 6 that's optimized would thus be Tier 4 generally, because it took the best qualities of a Barbarian (probably pounce, rage, and so on) and then made it stronger.  Generally, you don't multiclass out unless you get something better by doing so, so you're usually going to end up at least as strong as the strongest class.  This isn't always true, but it generally is.  Meanwhile, if you do something silly like Wizard 4/Sorcerer 4, you might end up much lower.  But assuming you're not doing anything rediculous, a combination of Tier 4 and Tier 5 classes will usually be Tier 4, though it might be Tier 5.  Similar examples would be that a Scout/Ranger is probably going to be Tier 4 (though because there's a multiclassing feat for that, it could end up Tier 3), a Monk 1/Druid X will be Tier 1, a Fighter 2/Warblade X will be Tier 3, and so on.

Q:  My players want to play classes of wildly different Tiers.  What can I do about this?

A:  Well, this will be a test of your DMing skill.  The easiest solution is to convince them to play classes that are similar conceptually but different in power.  For example, if they're currently going with Paladin, Druid, Monk, Illusionsist, then maybe you can get them to try out Crusader, Wild Shape Varient Ranger, Unarmed Varient Swordsage, Beguiler.  That would make your life a lot easier.  But if they're attached to their classes or feel that their class choice bests fits their character, then you've got a few options.  One is to see the house rule section above and try something like that.  Another is to simply provide extra support for the weaker classes... for example, perhaps more random magic items that drop are useful for unarmed strikers, while Wildling Clasps just don't seem to exist in your game.  Maybe allowing more oddball "broken" tricks for the Monk (and perhaps Paladin) while being much more strict with the Illusionist and Druid.  You can also allow more PrC options for the weaker guys... Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Unarmed Swordsage 4/Master of Nine 5 is fine for that Monk, but Illusionist 10/Earth Dreamer 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5 is not acceptable, and Druid/Planar Shepard is right out.   You can also make sure that the challenges being put forward suit the strengths of the weaker classes.  Something that makes good use of the Monk and Paladin's diplomacy would be advisable, for example.  A challenge where being able to run really fast is handy might work too.  And finally, you can bring the Druid and Illusionist aside and tell them the answer to the next question.

Q:  My party mates all want to play classes of wildly different Tiers.  What can I do about this?

A:  First... see if you can get them to play something closer together, as above.  If that won't work, okay.  Now, if the class you're playing is noticeably stronger than everyone else, try focusing your energy on buffing your party mates.  Channel your power through them... it helps.  If you're a DMM Cleric in a party with a Monk and Fighter, try persisting Recitation, Lesser Vigor, and Righteous Wrath of the Faithful instead of Righteous Might, Divine Power, and Divine Favor.  You're still very powerful, and definitely getting results, but since you use your party mates to get those results, they feel useful too.  Also, let them shine in their areas.  If they're melees and you're a Cleric, don't turn into Godzilla and smash Tokyo.  It's not polite.  Focus on the other areas a bit more.  If one of them is playing a Rogue, using Divine Insight to beat him on skills isn't nice.  Let him have his fun, and save your spells for other areas if you can.  If, however, you're playing a weaker class, then optimize optimize optimize!  A CW Samurai is going to have a lot of trouble in a party full of Tier 3s and up, so maybe try being a Necropolitan CW Samurai 10/Zhentarium Fighter 10 with Imperious Command, Eviscerator, Improved Critical, and a pair of Lifedrinker Kukris.  Carve out a niche where you're the king... they can have everything else.  Also, make sure you've got something to do when you do have to sit out.  Give your character a drinking habit or something.

Q:  Why does it matter if a class has broken abilities?  Won't a DM just nerf that anyway?  Shouldn't you just ignore broken abilities when ranking classes?

A:  It actually matters a great deal if a class has broken abilities (such as flowing time Genesis, Planar Binding Wish loops, and so on).  This system is designed to help DMs and players know what kind of power is coming their way, and if a DM is blindsided by something broken that's a serious problem.  I'm not going to tell someone that a Sorcerer is weak because I'm assuming their best spells are all nerfed... I'd rather warn them that Sorcerers have overpowered abilities, so that they look more closely at the character sheets of Sorcerers that are playing in their game and watch out for such stuff.  Remember, not everyone has the same opinion of "broken" and nothing ticks a player off more than having a DM tell them their neat trick that they were counting on is overpowered and suddenly banned.  Ever seen a Sorcerer who took Shivering Touch and Spectral Hand and has been holding those in reserve for a few levels suddenly use those on a Dragon, only to have the DM suddenly say "no, that's broken, you can't use those spells?"  It's not a pretty sight, and I'd like to avoid that.

So again, this is a system that ranks classes before such nerfing.  Tier 1 and 2 class can easily do game breaking things, and DMing for those classes does require checking to make sure the player won't do anything silly (with good players, this is a simple matter of asking them to use their judgement.  With munchkins, you have to be firm).  The fact that they're Tier 1 and 2 is supposed to warn you that some house ruling may be necessary to avoid broken campaigns if your players go a little nuts.

Q: What assumptions were used in making this system?

A:  I tried to use as few assumptions as possible, to ensure the system would apply to as many games as possible.  However, I had to use a few.  The primary assumptions are equivalent player skill and equivalent optimization level.  If one class is heavily optimized (taking the best available options, whatever best might mean in this case) and another example of the same class is not very optimized at all (taking a bunch of random options without regards to power) then obviously the same class would have two very different power/versitility levels.  Likewise, an incompetent player (or one who's simply not trying) will do far less with a powerful class than someone who's creative and knows the rules well.  I simply can't measure those factors, so the system assumes it's the same.

As far as books available, I assume that the core books are available, as well as whatever book the class appears in.  Obviously, few people play a Dread Necromancer without Heroes of Horror.  For all other sources, I tried to count them based on how commonly used I thought they were.  For example, the Complete series of books are very often used, so I factored in the Barbarian's access to the Lion Totem with the assumption that it would usually be available.  However, 3.0 books like Book of Exalted Deeds are far less likely to be used, so I didn't really factor in the Healer's ability to cast Consecrated Spells out of that book much when ranking that class.  Usually this doesn't actually matter all that much (a Core Wizard is to a Core Rogue as an all books Wizard is to all all books Rogue), but for some classes it matters a great deal... these classes are listed separately (such as the Binder, which gains a TON of power with access to the online official WotC material, and is thus listed at both Tier 2 and Tier 3).

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 05, 2009, 08:52:23 AM
House Rules

The first time I posted this I was asked about potential house rules that might help balance out the Tiers a bit more.  This post will be on that topic.  First, some quick and dirty house rules that are easy to implement:

Option #1: Point Buy modifications. This is a quick and dirty fix that helps a bit. It's not perfect, but it's certainly something. Tier 1s get 24 point buy. Tier 2s get 28 point buy. Tier 3s get 32 point buy. Tier 4s get 36 point buy. Tier 5s get 40 point buy. Tier 6s get 44 point buy. Result? At low levels, their Tiers are nearly reversed, with CW Samurai having awesome stats while Wizards really are weak bookish types. By the high levels, the Tiers are back in order, but the difference is less pronounced through the mid levels. Obviously, you can adjust what the differences are, but this works pretty well, and most importantly it's extremely easy. The big downside is that you really can't allow much multiclassing or else it all goes out of whack. Other similar methods include rolling but letting lower Tiers get extra rerolls or bonuses after the roll, and giving free LA points to low tier classes (so, everyone Tier 3 and below gets 1 free LA, and everyone Tier 5 and below gets 2 free LA).

Option #2: Partial Gestalt. Tier 1s and 2s are normal. Tier 3s and 4s may gestalt their levels with an NPC class of their choice (Adept, Expert, Commoner, or Warrior). Tier 5s and 6s may gestalt their levels with any other Tier 5 or 6 class of their choice, or Adepts. Result? Again, a healthy power boost for the low Tiers. Suddenly the Rogues can have full BAB and lots of hitpoints, and the Monks can have Fighter powers too. Very handy. Plus, multiclassing works... it's just that if you start as a Fighter//Monk and want to take a level of, say, Ranger, that level must have an NPC class on the other side. If for some reason you wanted Sorcerer, you wouldn't be gestalt at all in that level. Lord knows Fighters get a lot better when they can be Fighter//Monks or Fighter//CA Ninjas or whatever.

Option #3: Mass bannings. Clunky method, but simply saying "no, you can't be Tier X and above" does work. You pick the level that you want to deal with (let's say Tier 3, because that's my favorite) and then ban the ones higher than that (no Tier 2 or Tier 1). Some would ban the levels below that too (say, no Tier 5s or 6s) but I actually find that unnessesary... sometimes those weaker classes might work for your build as a dip. Honestly, I don't favor this method, because sometimes players can't find a class that fits their concept just right this way, but it is an option.

Option #4:  Targetting nerfs.  Go through and find all the stuff you'd consider overpowered and remove or weaken each thing.  This takes a LOT of work and requires knowing the initial balance point of each class (something the Tiers were designed to help with).  For example, you could remove the Polymorph line entirely, disallow the use of planar traits with Genesis, remove Planar Binding, and so on.  This method takes a heck of a lot of work and is easy to do incorrectly (and thus create even more balance issues) so make sure you know how strong each thing is before you start doing it.  For one example of a person's attempt to do this, see here:  http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=3288.0

And then, here's a much more convoluted bit of house rules, as an example of how you can personalize your campaign while taking into account relative class power.

[spoiler]In my game, I wanted a low magic game, with characters using skills and martial abilities to solve problems instead of spells.  So, I did the following:

Psionics don't exist (not familiar enough with them)

When preparing a spell (or preparing a spell slot, which spontaneous casters must do), you must take 1 hour per level of the spell. At the end, the DM makes a hidden DC 10*spell level check, where any D20 roll equal to or less than the level of the spell is an automatic failure. The skill for the check is Knowledge Nature for nature casters (Druids, Rangers, etc), Knowledge Religeon for divine casters (Clerics, Paladins, etc), and Spellcraft for arcane casters (Wizards, Bards, etc). When you try to cast the spell, if you've succeeded on the check it goes off normally. If you fail, the spell fails and you take a backlash effect, randomly chosen depending on the school of the spell you tried to cast (so failed necromancy spells do things like cause permanent wisdom decreases and negative energy damage, failed conjurations summon powerful things that attack you or teleport you into physical objects, etc). The save DC against backlash effects, if there's a save at all, is 5*spell level. Every time you cast a spell there's a chance of dying. As such, spellcasters are HEAVILY nerfed, and not expected to be played. When creating magic items, the spells required must be cast every day... so bad idea!

No humanoids or monsterous humanoids (which includes all PCs) can use Spell Like abilities, except for those granted by the Binder and Warlock classes (since those classes draw their power from outside sources).

The game is Gestalt.

All players get the benefits of Vow of Poverty, plus the bonus feats from that are any bonus feat you want (not just exalted), without the drawbacks (you can still use gear). However, there are no useful magic items in the game, so it's all mundane gear. As such, gear is far less important in my game... any random sword works as well as any other, so you can lose all your stuff, punch out a guard, steal his sword, and rock out.

All players heal rapidly when out of sight and no one's after them (fast healing equal to your HD, only when I as the DM decide you're between encounters).

Classes that had casting can, with DM permission, swap out their casting for any one other class substitution ability... for example, the Bard can swap casting for an Animal Companion because of the UA Fey Varient Bard.

Basically, it's a low magic heroic fantasy game. And remember, I like Tier 3 as a balance point. So what do these house rules do to balance?

Well, Tier 1 and 2 are completely gone. All of them depend on spellcasting which is now nerfed, so most of those classes drop to Tier 5-6 (except the Druid, who's Tier 3... yeah, Wild Shape is that powerful). The top tier classes are now the normal Tier 3 guys plus the Druid, except that the Beguiler drops to around Tier 5/6 and the Dread Necromancer does too. Sadly, the Healer and Warmage are also nerfed, but they didn't fit in the campaign world anyway.

The gear changes mean certain specialized equipment dependent builds don't work (Warblade Crossbow archers, for example), and Wild Shape based classes get pumped up (Druids and Wild Shape Rangers) but otherwise changes are minimal as far as balance is concerned.

Healing classes are basically unnecessary, though still handy, so Crusaders are useful to have.

Warlock and Binder invisibility powers are awesome against other humanoids.

Overall, that's about the effect I wanted. The entire party can optimize like crazy and they're still maxing out at Tier 2 if they really work at it, and are usually Tier 3 otherwise.

The current party at this time (we just added two players) is I believe:

Warblade//Swordsage, Barbarian//Swordsage, Factotum//Bard (with a gecko familiar), Binder//Ninja/Rogue, Scout//Warlock.

Conveniently enough, all of them are basically Tier 2-3 (gestalt raises them up a bit).[/spoiler]

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 05, 2009, 08:53:15 AM
Why Each Class is in its Tier

Hopefully I'll eventually expand this post, but for now I can at least link this resource:  http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5070.0

Additionally, here's a write up on the Factotum.  [spoiler]Here's how combat went the first time a friend of mine picked up a Factotum (never having played before). He was just released from being captured (plot point to get him into the game) and thus had absolutely no gear at all, just the mundane clothes on his back. If he was anything like a Rogue, he should have been unable to fight, but he was thrown directly into combat, and here's what he did, and note that this is an 8th level Tiefling Factotum:

First, he made a rediculously high Escape Artist check to get out of his bindings (he was supposed to be just waiting for us to rescue him). Then he sneaks down the hall. Coming around the corner, he saw a bad guy right in front of him at the opening to a courtyard where the rest of the party was battling. So, on his initiative (it was an ongoing battle) he gets a free standard action with his Factotum abilities and Alter Selfs into an Advespa, which he had learned about with a quick google search for "Alter Self Forms." This gives him 5 natural attacks, 7 Natural Armour, and a flight speed. Then he full attacks the bad guy in front of him, getting a little sneak attack in for good measure. Next round, as our party is cleaning up pretty good and the Sorcereress just glitterdusted the guy and an enemy near him, the guy ran, getting away around a corner... but the Factotum just used an extra standard action to get to the corner, then charged him and used sneak attack to finish him off.

Now, this is simply not something a naked Rogue does.

Now, you can call an 8th level character using Alter Self to gain natural AC and natural attacks TO, but since it was used in game, it's clearly not, nor is it even overpowered (it's still light duty Wild Shape). Yes, Wizards using Alter Self at level 3 to get +8 Natural AC for 30 minutes is overpowered. But Factotums can't do that sort of thing until 5, at which point the Druid already has Wild Shape, which is an equivalent ability at level 5 and continues to get far better, outpacing Alter Self dramatically as the levels increase

Meanwhile, there's the old Iajuitsu Focus thing. Yes, OA was updated for 3.5, and yes, Factotums have ALL skills as class skills, including Autohypnosis and IF. The ability to take extra standard actions and, when you need, add your Factotum level to your check once in a while makes this incredibly potent. You can draw a weapon (usually with the eager enchantment if you can get it, since generally speaking Factotums have a better place to spend feats) in the surprise round (gained through hiding, or casting invisibility, or whatever), partial action charge the enemy, and deal IF damage. Then, if you want, use an extra standard action to hit them again. Then, if you win initiative, use an extra standard action to sheath your weapon while you move up to another enemy, then draw it and full attack, dealing IF damage a second time (and if you want to add sneak attack damage, you could do that too). I don't know why some people don't think IF should count... that's exactly what the Factotum's forte is (using any skill he wants). And of course an item that gives Sapphire Nightmare Blade is exceptionally cheap.

And then of course there's the spellcasting. While he has few spells per day and they're way behind a Wizard, he's got four big advantages here.

First and formost, he can gain extra standard actions, and can do it a LOT if he takes the Factotum only feat that, well, he almost certainly will take. Saying that feat doesn't count because it's in a weird place is silly, since the Factotum itself is in a weird place so you're already looking through weird places, and the "weird place" is the Class Chronicals about Factotums anyway. That's not hugely weird. The result is that he can combo spells together, which can be extremely useful.

The second advantage Factotums get with spells is that unlike Wizards, they can use the entire list without needing a spellbook. That means that if a Factotum suddenly realizes he needs spell X, that's exactly what he's going to have ready for the next day... plus he doesn't have to spend tons of his wealth by level on a spellbook. This is huge in games like World's Largest Dungeon, or just games where the situation changes a lot.

And the third is that his spells are actually spell like abilities, meaning they always have a standard action casting time. He does have to pay component costs and can't use exp cost spells, but the standard action thing is VERY good with some spells, for example Major Creation or any other spell balanced by its slow casting time.

And fourth, he can ignore SR whenever he wants, starting from level 11. Just think about that one for a second.  Consider how many spells are balanced by the fact that at least SR can stop them, and then realize that when a Factotum does it, he can ignore that.  Cast Spectral Hand and Shivering Touch in the surprise round, touch attack the dragon with it, and ignore his SR for the purpose, which would be his only defense?  Sure.  And you've even got the Factotum's advantages in sneaking up on him, just stay out of the range of his Blindsense (unless you have Darkstalker of course).

So, another way a Factotum could fight (we've been through two already, turning into a powerful combat form and using Iajuitsu Focus for damage boosting) would be to combo useful spells together. One easy example is Cloudkill with Solid Fog, making a fog of death that enemies can't escape from quickly enough. And remember, you can cast the whole combo in the surprise round if you want. Very nasty. You could even cast Animate Dead in the middle of a battle if you so desired, due to the casting time decrease. No one ever expects the skillmonkey to pull that move off.  And the above mentioned combination of Spectral Hand with any potent touch attack.  All this and the ability to ignore SR whenever it suits you is pretty darn incredible.

The important point is that everything I've stated here is just a Factotum with a few Fonts of Inspiration. That's it. I haven't discussed gear other than the side note about using Sapphire Nightmare Blade, or race (though the Advespi thing only works if you're an outsider... that particular character happens to be a Tiefling... but you can use other forms if you're another race). And those were just some examples of what a Factotum can do (I haven't even gone into Turn Undead or his healing abilties or his ability to ignore DR, or his ability to eventually mimic any three Ex class abilities from 15th level characters... how about 10d6 sneak attack, 10d6 sudden strike, and full flurry of blows? Or would you prefer Pounce? You know what else is Ex? A Fighter's Bonus Feats, and you probably just gained 10 of them because you just gained the bonus feats ability of a fighter of your Factotum level. Now, technically spellcasting itself is Ex, but we'll ignore that for now). I haven't gone into his defense either... the ability to simply ignore any damage that would take him to 0 or less hitpoints for 4 Inspiration Points is pretty freaking awesome, as as Int to AC in any armour if he needs it (though his later version of the ability requires light armour). And who doesn't like the ability to add your class level to any save when you want it?

And of course, all of that was just combat. We haven't even gotten started on out of combat.

Out of combat you're much like a Rogue, except that unlike a Rogue you can pump Int without worrying (Rogues have to care about their Dex a lot more if they want to survive, and their poorer defense makes Con that much more critical). This means your higher int will make up for the skill point difference. Then you've got both Int and Dex (and both Int and Str) to skills that require Str or Dex, the ability to add your Factotum level once per day to any skill you've got a point in already, and of course the ability to cast nearly any Wizard/Sorc spell, though admittedly a few spell levels behind the big boys. This can mean scouting an area while Alter Selfed into a Whispergnome or Skulk for better hide and move silently, using Autohypnosis to automatically memorize every detail you see, and then sneaking back. Or just using a divination spell. You've got such spells as Knock and Silence to help out too. And that's just the scouting aspect.  Plus, while Rogues are constantly hoping to find useful gear to use with UMD, Factotums can actually do item crafting on their own if they want.

There's a reason Factotums are in Tier 3 in my system, and in fact they're pretty high in Tier 3. They've got so much innate flexibility it's obscene... unexperienced DMs thinking they're weaker could get VERY surprised but how much a Factotum can alter himself to suit a situation perfectly.  Put a Factotum in a group with a Rogue and that Rogue ends up looking like dead weight plenty of the time (any time where the situation calls for one skill monkey to do something). And the Fighter? The Factotum can often outclass him too, sometimes dropping whole encounters in the surprise round and start of the first round. And he can do all of it without warning, adapting on the fly to the situation in front of him.  Certainly, when I watch the one that's currently grouped with my Dread Necromancer (plus a Sorcerer, Cleric, Swordsage, and Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade) there's no way he's the weak link.

So yeah, really potent, really flexible class that can REALLY surprise a DM.[/spoiler]
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on August 05, 2009, 08:59:43 AM
You could have at least changed Psionic Warrior (IE not a D&D class) to Psychic Warrior (an actual D&D class) if you are going to repost the whole thing.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bogsnes on August 05, 2009, 11:06:29 PM
As I've asked before: what "cast today, benefit tomorrow" does the sorcerer have (or all casters actually, curious about the Druid and Cleric too)?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Growin on August 05, 2009, 11:28:49 PM
Dragon Shaman's should clearly be Tier 4.  Basically they are a heal bot that allows a party to almost always have half their hit points.  Eventually it gets a breath weapon... Medium BAB, some lame abilities.  About the only useful thing is that you can quickly go into the chameleon prestige class if you pick the right dragon totem.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on August 05, 2009, 11:47:07 PM
Mediocre out of combat healing isn't really a good excuse at all.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on August 05, 2009, 11:47:39 PM
As I've asked before: what "cast today, benefit tomorrow" does the sorcerer have (or all casters actually, curious about the Druid and Cleric too)?

Well there are two things.

1) if you happen to be a bullshit good character using Exalted Deeds, you can totally use shit to summon a unicorn, but no one cares. That's for Druids. Alternatively, if you are a Cleric/Wizard you can use Animate Dead to make giant awesome bitches. Or dominate person to get minions, or whatever else you want.

2) All casters can do the Frank Cheat, but Wizards are the best at it.

It's where you don't adventure for a day, and you prepare a bunch of Hour per level and 24 hour buffs extended. Then you cast them all rest for 8 hours, then re prepare spells that are all shorter buffs or attack buffs. So you have a crap ton of buffs going that don't cost spells.

My level 20 Druid has 38 hours left on his Energy Immunity (everything) and Superior Resistance buffs, and even longer on his Heart of Air/Fire/Water/Earth and Unicorn Blood and other such crap. (Elemental Body is good, but I think Wizard only).

3) You can also build up 600d6 damage bombs if you are a dick, and this is the one JaronK cares about the most.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PhaedrusXY on August 05, 2009, 11:50:10 PM
3) You can also build up 600d6 damage bombs if you are a dick, and this is the one JaronK cares about the most.
:lmao  :lmao :lmao :lmao
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 06, 2009, 02:28:13 AM
Make a few big banners with illusory script.  It's got a 1 minute casting time, but lasts for 1 day/level.

Things like: "Nothing to see here", "doin' fine", "just peachy", or "Get in the box"
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 06, 2009, 04:07:41 AM
As I've asked before: what "cast today, benefit tomorrow" does the sorcerer have (or all casters actually, curious about the Druid and Cleric too)?

Any minion creation spell (Animate Dead/Planar Binding/Plague of Undead), construction spells (Wall of Stone, Fabricate, Wall of Iron, Magecraft, Shape Earth, Hardness), magic trap spells (Explosive Runes, various glyphs), and so on.  There's really a ton of them available if you look for them.  Conveniently, the Runestaff of the Artisan and Runestaff of the Architect have most of what you'd want for building a fortification, while the Runestaff of the Undying helps out a bit with minion creation.  Wizards are obviously better than Sorcerers at this, though Mage of the Arcane Order means Sorcerers can compete if they want to.  Planar Binding gets a special note because it can be used not just to get a minion but also to get various other long term benefits.  Even if you're not doing silly Efreeti tricks, Genies can do permanent Major Creation (restricted types though) if you happen to want a nice Soarwood tower or something.  And don't forget the obvious Permenency!  Permanent Enlarge Person is always appreciated on trippers and the like.

For Clerics, offhand I can think of Divine Insight when used with mundane crafting (something I've personally used alot) and there's some really nice long term minion spells in BoED.  Also of course Animate Dead is lower level on the Cleric list, and Clerics have a bunch of other similar undead minion spells (Black Sand is a big help there!).  Plus there are domains for construction if you want to specialize in it.  Druids have spells like Beget Bogun and whatnot. 

If you look around, there's really a ton of spells in a variety of books that are great for using up otherwise unused slots in ways that provide some kind of long term bonus.  It's most common to have a way of building something or making minions, but there are other options too.  Because so many books added to the Tier 1 casters' lists, if you hunt around there's something for everyone (though there's also plenty in core, at least for the arcanists).  The Dread Necromancer obviously also has plenty of minion creation spells, though that class lacks any other kind of benefit tomorrow spells (Ghoul Glyph is an exception if you use Advanced Learning on it).  The Beguiler really doesn't get any (except they can get Illusory Wall and Permanent Image if they want, which is nice for decorating in artistic ways!), and nor does the Warmage or Healer (though I think the Healer might get a few in BoED with Sacred Spells... not sure though).  Obviously any arcane caster can use Arcane Disciple to get a few though.

I tend to mention Explosive Runes, by the way, simply because explosive bombs amuses me a great deal and it fits my playstyle... not because it's actually the most useful thing out there.  I don't usually do 600d6 damage with them though.  6d6 force damage is quite handy.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on August 06, 2009, 05:15:37 AM
Can you please please please stop sucking off magecraft? It give s +5 to a skill check. No one actually cares. There are level 2 Wizard spells that give much higher bonuses.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: dark_samuari on August 06, 2009, 05:17:18 AM
Can you please please please stop sucking off magecraft? It gives +5 to a skill check. No one actually cares. There are level 2 Wizard spells that give much higher bonuses.

Alright than we use those ones.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 06, 2009, 05:32:00 AM
Can you please please please stop sucking off magecraft? It give s +5 to a skill check. No one actually cares. There are level 2 Wizard spells that give much higher bonuses.

You whine when I don't mention really low level spells that I'm only talking about level 13+ (even when I'm talking about third level spells).  When I mention one of the good level 1 spells, you whine that the higher level spells are better.  Yeesh.  It's not like there's that many good level 1 spells, especially as you level up.  Once colorspray becomes worthless around level 5, you're pretty much left with Nerveskitter, Grease, PW: Pain and Magecraft as actually helpful first level spells.  Maybe Disguise Self and Endure Elements.  Point being, it's a solid spell, and it's the only spell I could think of that's level 1 and fits the topic of "what spells can be cast today that can benefit me tomorrow?"

The fact that it's level 1 is what helps a lot... if a Sorcerer is starting at level 1-3, or a Wizard at 1-2, then the ability to craft their own mundane gear using that spell, and thus get it 1/3 off, is quite handy (every DM I've worked with has been fine with letting you craft your own gear if you have the skills to succeed every time and tools).  It's nothing huge, but it helps.  It's better for a Wizard... an Int 16 Wizard with Masterwork Tools and Magecraft can craft Masterwork items by taking 10.  A Sorcerer is unlikely to have enough Int to do that, but they can throw in two or three ranks for it if they want.  Note the less, it's a spell that gives you long term bonuses (cheaper mundane gear) for the cost of totally renewable resources (time and spell slots).

But yes, higher level spells are better than lower level ones, and you can use the higher level spells to get better bonuses.  What's your point there? 

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on August 06, 2009, 05:37:01 AM
No, I'm making fun of you because you bring up fucking Magecraft in every thread ever because it adds a +5 to a skill check. No one cares about +5 to a skill check. A Wizard can just fucking craft that shit without Magecraft too, but no one actually cares enough to brag about it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: SorO_Lost on August 06, 2009, 06:06:32 AM
What is the tier system's stance on UMD?

1. A Rogue has UMD as a class skill, does this have any impact on it's ranking compared to a class without UMD?
2. What if the class compared to gets either arcane or divine spell whereas a different class is using both via UMD as a class skill?
3. A Healer takes UMD to use a runestaff loaded with Cleric spells, does that mean he just moved up a teir?

I think UMD should be flat out ignored for two reasons.
1. Any nerdy caster UMDing to cast Divine Power becomes a tank in their own right and any nonspellcaster can pretend to cast spells. Given that everyone can use UMD to pretend their someone else everything balances it's self out in the long run.
2. UMD is all about not being you. If your pretending to be someone else to get a job done then obviously you're not good enough. UMD should not be the reason to justify the class as being useful, instead it's own abilities and capabilities should be judged.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: dark_samuari on August 06, 2009, 06:12:24 AM
I think UMD should be flat out ignored for two reasons.
1. Any nerdy caster UMDing to cast Divine Power becomes a tank in their own right and any nonspellcaster can pretend to cast spells. Given that everyone can use UMD to pretend their someone else everything balances it's self out in the long run.
2. UMD is all about not being you. If your pretending to be someone else to get a job done then obviously you're not good enough. UMD should not be the reason to justify the class as being useful, instead it's own abilities and capabilities should be judged.

I think it can't carrying a class but it certainly does add a viable strength to it.

For example maybe a rogue without UMD would resemble this:
(http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/07/08/jeffreygun.jpg)

And a rogue with UMD would reseble this:
(http://imgsrv.kmbz.com/image/kmbz/UserFiles/Image/Brian%5C%27s%20Pics/batman-bale.jpg)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 06, 2009, 06:16:30 AM
It can't carry a class, but having it as a class skill is better than not having it as a class skill.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 07, 2009, 03:20:26 AM
What is the tier system's stance on UMD?

1. A Rogue has UMD as a class skill, does this have any impact on it's ranking compared to a class without UMD?

Yes, it's factored in, but I consider very carefully the issues with it (namely, the DM has to actually give you access to items worth using it with).  Notice that all skillmonkeys above the Rogue also have UMD (Factotums, Beguilers).  The Ninja is below the Rogue and lacks it.  As such, most of the stronger skillmonkey classes have UMD already, even without considering UMD itself.  UMD is a potentially potent ability, but because it requires the DM to give you what you need to use it, it's less of a balance issue.  After all, every class is powerful if it gets just the right magic items, but if you can't craft your own, that doesn't matter too much.  UMD is a very campaign specific skill... in some campaigns it's awesome, in others it's worthless, in most it's somewhere in between, and that mostly has to do with the prevalence of magic marts in your area.  If you can just go buy a Wand of Knock to deal with Arcane Locks and a Wand of Lesser Vigor to help with healing, that's quite handy.  It's very rare that you could just go get a Wand of Shivering Touch or something though.

Quote
2. What if the class compared to gets either arcane or divine spell whereas a different class is using both via UMD as a class skill?

That mostly only matters in terms of item creation.  The ability to make stuff that you'd want to use UMD with (which mostly matters for Factotums, Warlocks, and Artificers) is very powerful, and is factored in.  But if you have the ability to UMD arcane spells while having divine spells, you frankly could have UMDed the divine spells anyway since it's the same DCs.

Quote
3. A Healer takes UMD to use a runestaff loaded with Cleric spells, does that mean he just moved up a teir?

It means he cheated.  Runestaffs are arcane only!  No Cleric spells for you!  Also, UMD when used cross class is available to all classes, and as such is not factored in at all (that would be a Class X fallacy if I counted it).

Quote
I think UMD should be flat out ignored for two reasons.
1. Any nerdy caster UMDing to cast Divine Power becomes a tank in their own right and any nonspellcaster can pretend to cast spells. Given that everyone can use UMD to pretend their someone else everything balances it's self out in the long run.
2. UMD is all about not being you. If your pretending to be someone else to get a job done then obviously you're not good enough. UMD should not be the reason to justify the class as being useful, instead it's own abilities and capabilities should be judged.

Well, the thing is some classes can make very good use of UMD (Artificers, Warlocks, Factotums), mostly because they can make nifty items that let them do things they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.  And UMD is very campaign specific... you need either time to make the items or the ability to buy the items, which is by no means a gaurentee.  With that said, like all abilities it must be considered... the ability to utilize items better than other classes does mean something.  I do agree with you that it tends to be very overrated (at least with classes that don't make their own stuff), and I don't give it THAT high of an importance.  But it does help a bit.

And again, this system is designed to help DMs and players achieve balance.  If the DM is handing out Wands of Shivering Touch and Planar Binding all over the place, he knows exactly what he's going to do to the game.  The balance implications of that are already obvious, so it's not that important to talk about it.

And by the way, thank you for stating your argument in a reasonable way!  I don't quite agree with it, but I do agree with the main thrust of it (UMD is pretty overrated on most classes).

@Kaelik:  Magecraft at low levels is the difference between paying full price for mundane gear when you start and paying 1/3 price for mundane gear (plus the cost of tools) when you start.  That's huge (for a level 1 spell).  And yes, a Wizard generally will need that +5 to bump him up to the ability to hit the DC 20 for masterwork items without ranks (+3 Int, +2 Masterwork Tool, +5 Magecraft).  Clerics will generally use Divine Insight for a similar (but more powerful) trick, but that's a level 2 spell.  I can't think of a single Factotum I've used that hasn't made very good use of Magecraft when starting (except for when I started at level 1, of course).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on August 07, 2009, 07:56:16 AM
No, I'm making fun of you because you bring up fucking Magecraft in every thread ever because it adds a +5 to a skill check. No one cares about +5 to a skill check. A Wizard can just fucking craft that shit without Magecraft too, but no one actually cares enough to brag about it.

You don't care about +5.  Some other people do, people who make characters who craft items.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Flay Crimsonwind on August 07, 2009, 09:49:49 AM
No, I'm making fun of you because you bring up fucking Magecraft in every thread ever because it adds a +5 to a skill check.
So what? Why is it an issue? He uses it, he will list it. Time Stop gets a lot of mention in other threads, because people use it. Celerity does too. Hell, fireball, orb of force, glitterdust. All because people use them. He uses a spell, he's got a right to name it alongside nine other spells in the first line of his post. Getting irritated because of a spell mentioned is... well, interesting, to say the least. It really doesn't matter what he chooses to name, so long as he and others will make use of it.

In an attempt not to form clutter, I'll spoiler this for Kaelik, and to any interested, though I do hope they will respectfully allow him to respond in his own time...
[spoiler]I acknowledge that it's very helpful to disagree and simultaneously have an opinion you can back with some degree of reason, which for the most part you do, but why is it you A) insist on becoming insulting towards the person(s) you disagree with (other threads, occasionally after arguing in a similar manner yourself (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5112.msg177289#msg177289)), B) make fun of the person (This thread), or just tell them you've already decided their argument "doesn't matter" based on the fact that you disagree(other threads, usually in conjunction with A (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5291.msg177226#msg177226))? I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, mainly because I'm in a number of pbp's with you, and confrontation seemed unwise, but I just have to know what makes you so immediately hostile towards others who have opinions that differ from yours, and further try and show how much more important/intelligent/etc you are when your arguments are countered or tried?

I mean, I only had to read through the first page of your most recent posts to note that a good few insulted people for no reason other than they presented arguments against you that you didn't like. One thread in particular (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5121.0) seems not just insulting and vulgar, but also hollowly threatening, and almost seems intended to try and get people to lose enough respect to immediately write off your opinion (I take it you don't know who Caelic is?).

On the one hand, it honestly seems from your posts like you consider yourself above most if not all of the people on this board (I am not saying this is true, just that it seems like this is your opinion), while on the other hand your posting style treats the others on this board so poorly and with such an attitude as to make people either angry or simply write you off as a troll.

I just want to know where it is your coming from, where your mind is, and why you insist on acting in a disrespectful manner (no offense meant, it simply is the case) so often, since it becomes apparent that you will be on this board for a while, and you will rather loudly voice your opinion whenever possible. I believe it will be easier for me to take you seriously, to respect your opinion, and to make myself take your posts seriously, as I believe it will help others on this board (the only reason I'm posting this and not PMing it), if I know a bit about your mindset.[/spoiler]
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Zarothar on August 07, 2009, 10:33:35 AM
Okay, so, please don't get mad at me for this. I gather that there was a whole shitstorm over the Erudite and all, and I'm not try to resurrect that...

... but I do gather from the "why Tier X is in Tier X" thread that the Erudite is only really Tier 1 if Spell-to-Power is used. Might I suggest that you add a note to that effect, sort of like what you did with the Samurai?

I'm hoping some dick doesn't take this as an excuse to go off on a tangent about why so-and-so is right/wrong.  :rollseyes It's just a honest suggestion... If I've missed something dreadfully obvious, I'm sorry. :P
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on August 07, 2009, 02:06:10 PM
Let's try something new : the Generic Spellcaster; is it Tier 1 or Tier 2?

I've heard arguments that it's Tier 0 (which is Bullshit), it's stronger than a Sorcerer, but is it stronger than an Archivist or a Wizard?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 07, 2009, 04:25:41 PM
Still tier two.  Sorcerer-style slow spell advancement/spells known. 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: telehax on August 07, 2009, 05:56:12 PM
It means he cheated.  Runestaffs are arcane only!  No Cleric spells for you!  Also, UMD when used cross class is available to all classes, and as such is not factored in at all (that would be a Class X fallacy if I counted it).

Technically true, however there're domain staffs in Complete Champion, being more or less divine-runestaffs for every single cleric domain.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bastian on August 07, 2009, 08:55:40 PM
No, I'm making fun of you because you bring up fucking Magecraft in every thread ever because it adds a +5 to a skill check.
So what? Why is it an issue? He uses it, he will list it. Time Stop gets a lot of mention in other threads, because people use it. Celerity does too. Hell, fireball, orb of force, glitterdust. All because people use them. He uses a spell, he's got a right to name it alongside nine other spells in the first line of his post. Getting irritated because of a spell mentioned is... well, interesting, to say the least. It really doesn't matter what he chooses to name, so long as he and others will make use of it.

In an attempt not to form clutter, I'll spoiler this for Kaelik, and to any interested, though I do hope they will respectfully allow him to respond in his own time...
[spoiler]I acknowledge that it's very helpful to disagree and simultaneously have an opinion you can back with some degree of reason, which for the most part you do, but why is it you A) insist on becoming insulting towards the person(s) you disagree with (other threads, occasionally after arguing in a similar manner yourself (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5112.msg177289#msg177289)), B) make fun of the person (This thread), or just tell them you've already decided their argument "doesn't matter" based on the fact that you disagree(other threads, usually in conjunction with A (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5291.msg177226#msg177226))? I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, mainly because I'm in a number of pbp's with you, and confrontation seemed unwise, but I just have to know what makes you so immediately hostile towards others who have opinions that differ from yours, and further try and show how much more important/intelligent/etc you are when your arguments are countered or tried?

I mean, I only had to read through the first page of your most recent posts to note that a good few insulted people for no reason other than they presented arguments against you that you didn't like. One thread in particular (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5121.0) seems not just insulting and vulgar, but also hollowly threatening, and almost seems intended to try and get people to lose enough respect to immediately write off your opinion (I take it you don't know who Caelic is?).

On the one hand, it honestly seems from your posts like you consider yourself above most if not all of the people on this board (I am not saying this is true, just that it seems like this is your opinion), while on the other hand your posting style treats the others on this board so poorly and with such an attitude as to make people either angry or simply write you off as a troll.

I just want to know where it is your coming from, where your mind is, and why you insist on acting in a disrespectful manner (no offense meant, it simply is the case) so often, since it becomes apparent that you will be on this board for a while, and you will rather loudly voice your opinion whenever possible. I believe it will be easier for me to take you seriously, to respect your opinion, and to make myself take your posts seriously, as I believe it will help others on this board (the only reason I'm posting this and not PMing it), if I know a bit about your mindset.[/spoiler]
I can probably answer that question for you. He seems to have a combination of a massive ego and 'someone is wrong on the internet' syndrome. In all my years being a patron of various forums I've met multiple people with the same argument style, so its not that uncommon. Hell, one of my brothers used to have that style of argument until he realized how much of a douche he was being.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 08, 2009, 12:28:38 AM
Okay, so, please don't get mad at me for this. I gather that there was a whole shitstorm over the Erudite and all, and I'm not try to resurrect that...

... but I do gather from the "why Tier X is in Tier X" thread that the Erudite is only really Tier 1 if Spell-to-Power is used. Might I suggest that you add a note to that effect, sort of like what you did with the Samurai?

I really should, yeah.  I'm not at all familiar with the class anyway... I'm guessing it's about Tier 2 otherwise?  And for the record, I don't get mad at anyone for expressing an honest opinion and backing it up with some evidence.  "I think X class belongs in Y tier because of Z" is perfectly valid, whether I actually agree with it or not.

Quote
I'm hoping some dick doesn't take this as an excuse to go off on a tangent about why so-and-so is right/wrong.  :rollseyes It's just a honest suggestion... If I've missed something dreadfully obvious, I'm sorry. :P

No, it's a good suggestion, because I haven't seen anybody at all suggest it's Tier 1 without spell to power.   It's still going in itallics.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 10, 2009, 04:40:35 AM
I've updated the House Rules section with some handy links, as well as the FAQ.  Hopefully that should clear a few things up.  At some point I need to put in a thing about the Class X fallacy and the concept of Maximum Allowed Power.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on August 10, 2009, 08:42:11 AM
Not only am I raising my own voice for kicking Dread Necro and Beguiler up a tier, but I have a question too. What is the Class X fallacy?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on August 10, 2009, 09:14:05 AM
Quote
3.0 books like Book of Exalted Deed


Book of Exalted Deeds is 3.5. Just to let you know, again. Unless 3.0 added DR/evil while I wasn't looking.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 10, 2009, 09:31:52 AM
Not only am I raising my own voice for kicking Dread Necro and Beguiler up a tier, but I have a question too. What is the Class X fallacy?

The Class X fallacy is when someone argues that one class is more powerful relative to other classes because of something that applies to all classes.  A good example is "Fighters are powerful and versitile, because they could take cross class UMD ranks to be able to use spellcaster abilities!"  However, the given reason would still be true if you replaced the word "Fighters" in that scentence with any other class... the statement "[Class X] are powerful and versitile, because they could take..." applies just as well.  Hence the name.

And yes, I've seen that very argument.  If you've read that rather comical Monk guide, it used the same thing, only with Monks.  A very common one though is "[Class X] is really strong if a Wizard is there to buff it" or "[Class X] is really strong, since all it has to do is be this powerful race and have these powerful (and non class specific) feats."  Arguing that the Commoner is a powerful class because a Black Ethergaunt Commoner 1 is clearly Tier 1 would be a great example.

As for the Beguiler and Dread Necromancer, I've got good reason to keep them below the Sorcerer and such in terms of raw power, but I will say that the first time I made this system Tier 2 and 3 were merged.  After all, what the Beguiler lacks in super powered spells it often makes up for in useful class features and skills, and it does have some seriously potent spells in its arsinal.  The same can be said of Dread Necromancers.  But playing the three classes (and often with others of the three in the same group) I can safely say that there's a distinct power differential, and it's especially noticeable at higher levels.  I'll give an example.

One game I'm in right now originally had a Dread Necromancer and a Beguiler in the party, starting at level 2 and playing up through level 6.  It also had a Swordsage (technically, a variant that had sudden strike and traded out some manuevers, but it was close enough) and a Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade, and yes we did intentionally play Tier 3.  It was even pretty noticeable that that last guy was the odd one out... we kept having to leave him behind during stealth and recon missions, because he would have been more of a liability than an asset.  And when we fought, we fought as a great team... the Beguiler dropped Glitterdusts while the Dread Necromancer used Fear Aura and Intimidate, and the Swordsage did precision damage, while the PoT ensured few enemies made their save.  All fine and well.  As we leveled up, the Beguiler player got bored (mostly because the Beguiler just didn't fit his strengths, he was more of a hitty player) and let his character get killed.  Still, it was pretty obvious that all he was doing was spamming Glitterdust all the time... an effective technique, but one easily duplicated by a Sorcerer.  His one big advantage was Mindsight, which he got right before he died.  Then I raised him and now I play him, though the DM won't let him level up so he's stuck at level 6.

Anyway, the Beguiler player switched to a Cleric and then soon left the game, but at the same time a new player came in with a Sorcerer.  She too would spam Glitterdust, but wasn't bothering with power spells at all (she took Mass Reduce Person just because she thought people being small was funny), and now that we were higher level the deficiencies in the Beguiler and Dread Necromancer spell list were really starting to show.  Now that we're 11, in really hurts.  For example, my Dread Necromancer has Lesser Planar Binding and Planar Binding (the latter due to Versitile Spellcaster), but due to lacking Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor all he can do is summon critters into Ghoul Glyphs and then raise them as skeletons (the Caster Level requirement on Bone Creatures, which is entirely DM fiat, keeps me from raising enemies and actually keeping their abilities).  If I was a Sorcerer, this wouldn't be a problem at all, and I could fix our magic item deficiencies (it's a low magic campaign) by binding one of those nifty Dwarven Outsiders that can craft magic items for you.  And I could Bind a Genie to get some Soarwood or Bronzewood and build potent fortifications (it's a campaign where that would help).  There's all sorts of things I could do... but my spells just don't do that sort of thing, and the Beguiler wouldn't have been able to help.  Meanwhile, the only reason the Sorcerer can't is she chose not to.  Recently we got lucky and I managed to possess a Cleric 7, which finally let us play with Magic Circles for a day, and it was a huge power boost just to have that one day of access to the spells we wanted... which were just Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor.  Both of which the Sorcerer could have taken if she wanted.

So, while I love Dread Necromancers and Beguilers, their spell list just lacks the game changing spells that a Sorcerer would have had.  And that's really the difference between Tier 3 and Tier 2... Tier 3 solves problems quite well as they come up, but Tier 2 can say "I want to change how we're playing.  I think I'll do that."  That doesn't necessarily mean wish loops or other such nonsense, but being able to do things like saying "what we really need is a base of operations.  Give me a few days and two runestaffs, and I'll build an underground complex that we can use" or "we really need more magic items.  I'll teleport us to the nearest known metropolis to buy them.  If that doesn't work, I can Planar Bind someone who can make us the magic items we want, and call him again when the work is complete to purchase them."  That sort of stuff takes the game off the tracks the DM had originally intended it to be on in ways that can be jarring at times.  While the Beguiler can do things like "I glitterdust, now the encounter is basically solved" and the Dread Necromancer can do things like "I combine Fear Aura with Imperious Command and Never Outnumbered, thus solving the encounter without spending a spell" the Sorcerer can change the way the party operates on a more profound level, thus changing the campaign itself.

So to be clear, the difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3 is a bit more subtle than the one between Tier 1 and Tier 2.  Non proactive players may find Tier 3 classes to be every bit as strong as Tier 2 classes, simply because they're not trying to pull the campaign off the rails a bit.  But if they wanted to, they could, to whatever degree the DM allows before fiat and nerfs step in.

Really, on the basic comparison of the Dread Necromancer or Beguiler to the Sorcerer, it comes down to this: do you believe the Beguiler or Dread Necromancer have the best Wizard/Sorcerer spells of each level?  And by best, I here mean the strongest spells that would be allowed in whatever campaign.  In a very small subset of games that would be true... the DM would nerf anything stronger than Glitterdust or whatever.  But in the vast majority of games, there would be stronger spells available.  And the Sorcerer could take those, and the difference in power between those spells and what the Dread Necromancer or Beguiler has would be more than the class features of either of those classes, at least past the low-mid levels.  That's something I'm seeing in stark relief in the game I'm in right now that has all three classes.  I love my Fear Aura and my awesome familiar, but I'd kill for Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor.  And quite frankly, a Sorcerer with Animate Dead, Glitterdust, Cloudkill, Celerity, Dominate Monster, and Solid Fog, plus the Mother Cyst feat (which the Beguiler has) could do 90% of what the Beguiler and Dread Necromancer actually do these days, especially now that at level 11 the Sorcerer could create Necrosis Carnexes with Animate Dead.  And they'd still have room for stuff like Magic Circle and Shrink Item and all that.

The other big issue of course is the massive gaps in the Dread Necromancer and Beguiler spell list.  All the really big power spells have been removed (or, in the case of Planar Binding in the DN list and Time Stop on the Beguiler list, made far less strong.  After all, the inability to get access to special abilities from bound creatures and the inability to bust out with Wizard level spells while in Time Stop really changes things).  The only exceptions I'd say are Glitterdust and Colorspray on the Beguiler list, and maybe Animate Dead on the Dread Necromancer list (maybe Create Undead and Create Greater Undead, but DM fiat controls how strong those are).  And then huge areas of spells have been entirely removed.  Nearly all proactive spells are missing from the Beguiler list, while only some of the minion spells are on the Dread Necromancer list.  Missing entirely are the construction spells (Magecraft, Fabricate, Wall of Stone, Move Earth, etc), the magical trap spells (Explosive Runes, the various glyphs), the permanent buff spells (Permanency and everything it can do), and most of the traditional arcanist utility spells (Teleport is a big one).  Minion spells are nearly absent on the Beguiler list (one might count Dominate Monster and Charm Person) and limited on the Dread Necromancer list.  Since proactive power is the kind of power that can really unbalance games quickly, especially if no one else in the party can do it, this matters a great deal when we're talking about intraparty balance.  Really, the Beguiler and Dread Necromancer end up very much like the Crusader or Warblade... strong in their areas of expertise, and competent generally, but greatly lacking in many areas of the game such that they do need the rest of a party to help them out.  The Crusader is incredible at keeping the party alive while still dishing it out in combat effectively and being able to handle Diplomacy when fighting isn't called for, plus he can smash through walls when that's needed, but can't teleport us around or help with our magic item problems.  The Beguiler can locate enemies and disable large groups of enemies and use illusions to really mess with people, but he could never do anything on par with building castles in a few days.  And so on.

Sorry if that was a bit too rambling.  I mean, what do you feel really puts the Dread Necromancer and Beguiler on a level with someone who really can just get us access to magic items when we need them or build fortifications on the fly or contact gods for information when we need it?  Because right now, that's what our party actually needs.  If my Dread Necromancer was replaced with a decently optimized Crusader, the party dynamic would change but the overall power level would be pretty darn similar.  If it were replaced with a Sorcerer/Mage of the Arcane Order or even just a Sorcerer who picked her spells based on what was needed instead of what was funny, we'd be playing a whole new ballgame.  I'm seeing how badly we need a more proactive class right now and while the Factotum's abilities have really helped out, they're just not enough to really do something big (though she did grab Shivering Touch in the clutch, which was great.  Take that, Dragon!).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 10, 2009, 09:39:30 AM
Book of Exalted Deeds is 3.5. Just to let you know, again. Unless 3.0 added DR/evil while I wasn't looking.

It was actually written during 3.0, then modified and published right after 3.5 came out (4 months later, IIRC).  It's right on the cusp of the changeover, and has elements of 3.0 design in it still, as WotC was still finding its footing with what they wanted to do in the new edition.  Note that BoVD was actually originally printed in 2002, during 3.0, and is paired very much with BoED.  As such, the two books are often considered "3.25" as it were, along with Savage Species, and all three are notorious for their balancing issues (Love's Pain assassination is just nuts for example) and have very sloppy writing.  The result is that they are one of the books least commonly allowed in any given campaign, as far as I've noticed.  And a lot of people think BoED is 3.0 simply because BoVD is.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on August 10, 2009, 01:46:30 PM
I can sort of support what JaronK said on the DN. WITH that kind of DM fiat, ergo without Corpse and Bone creatures, and without Dreadwarriors, the DN is really a whole lot weaker on a game-changing scale. While a huge pool of zombies and skellies is sure nice, and some might say quite unbalancing in its own way, it doesn't change  the way the game is played.
Now some things are not really out of the DN's reach: A wand of Magic Circle is pretty expensive, but by no means unaffordable after a certain level. The best deal is probably a custom crafted runestaff - which he can't make himself, obviously. In a high magic setting it should surely be available as a custom ordered item, but not always. And that's a bit of a problem.

In addition, the DN, for all the fact that he's supposed to be the mastermind, or rather, a necromancer as an ideal is supposed to be some sort of mastermind having his minions set his plans into motion, totally lacks means to produce a viable mastermind game mechanic. He cannot scry, cannot commune or otherwise do useful stuff in that respect. His logistical means are limited to undead servants (who are often rather less than intelligent) and his familiar, which is sort of.. disapointing.

I have to say though, at high levels this all goes away, as soon as you DO get intelligent minions, which a wizard will never be able to do, due to lack of rebuking. At that point I'm not sure they aren't equal, because a Necro can invariably get access to mostly everything.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: SorO_Lost on August 10, 2009, 03:22:46 PM
Breaking out the whole "I UMD a runestaff" thing eh?

Healer holding a runestaff: "lol omg wtg dairy queen bbq im uber uber leet"
Is there anyone who loves this class enough to demand that it gets retiered?


*crickets*



So back on my UMD line of questioning, does UMDing a runestaff to cast someone else's spells instantly mean you are just as powerful as them or does fall under the same things that explain a Common sucks no matter how much he relies on UMD?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on August 10, 2009, 03:46:23 PM


So back on my UMD line of questioning, does UMDing a runestaff to cast someone else's spells instantly mean you are just as powerful as them or does fall under the same things that explain a Common sucks no matter how much he relies on UMD?

No it doesn't, but if UMDing a runestaff enables you to use your own class features to greater effect then that makes you more powerful, in the sense that the gain is greater than the gain any other guy would get.
Also, after a certain point the gain from UMDing the runestaff is the same as using the runestaff. When sorcs use them they expand their spell list. Anybody with UMD and spell slots can do the same, to the same effect. It's secondary versatility. Beguilers get it due to natural UMD, DNs get it due to being Cha-casters, but they really have to fight for the skill points.

My argument also wasn't that UMD makes them equal to wizards, it was that minions make them equal to wizards.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 11, 2009, 02:39:30 AM
I can sort of support what JaronK said on the DN. WITH that kind of DM fiat, ergo without Corpse and Bone creatures, and without Dreadwarriors, the DN is really a whole lot weaker on a game-changing scale. While a huge pool of zombies and skellies is sure nice, and some might say quite unbalancing in its own way, it doesn't change  the way the game is played.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I found.  Having a bunch of weak minions doesn't really help very much except in very specific situations.  Every once in a while I'd get a big nasty skeleton, and that would help, but space quickly becomes an issue... I can't actually bring all those skeletons and zombies to bear on one target.

Quote
Now some things are not really out of the DN's reach: A wand of Magic Circle is pretty expensive, but by no means unaffordable after a certain level.

Cross class UMD... ouch.  Doable, but not easy... at least the DC is only 20 for that.  You'll likely need Dimensional Anchor to get the good stuff as well.

Quote
The best deal is probably a custom crafted runestaff - which he can't make himself, obviously. In a high magic setting it should surely be available as a custom ordered item, but not always. And that's a bit of a problem.

Again cross classing UMD (at least this is on a Charisma class), and custom items are always easy to break.  I tend to assume custom items aren't something i should rank based on.  After all, there are a ton of broken customized items, and this system is designed to help players and DMs know what's balanced before house ruled stuff (including what custom items are available at all).  I mean, a lot of classes would be a lot nastier with a permanent Wraithstrike and permanent Swift Haste item, you know?

Quote
In addition, the DN, for all the fact that he's supposed to be the mastermind, or rather, a necromancer as an ideal is supposed to be some sort of mastermind having his minions set his plans into motion, totally lacks means to produce a viable mastermind game mechanic. He cannot scry, cannot commune or otherwise do useful stuff in that respect. His logistical means are limited to undead servants (who are often rather less than intelligent) and his familiar, which is sort of.. disapointing.

Actually, the Ghostly Visage is awesome.  Check out the ego rules... if he possesses someone else, he can control them for 24 hours.  If you make that work on a power class, it's incredible... I actually managed to land it on a Cleric recently in a game where I'm playing a DN, and it was great.  Also, that paralyzing gaze is really handy.  But I overall agree with your point... Dread Necromancers, despite their fluff, are not very good at the whole "Muhahaha I have built an evil army to crush you!" thing.  They're more like leutenants of the evil army than masters... they can control a lot of troops, but that's about it.

Quote
I have to say though, at high levels this all goes away, as soon as you DO get intelligent minions, which a wizard will never be able to do, due to lack of rebuking. At that point I'm not sure they aren't equal, because a Necro can invariably get access to mostly everything.

Wizards can do it with Command Undead, Control Undead, and Awaken Undead (which doesn't lose you control when used on Animate Dead minions).  DNs do it better, but only if you know how to optimize Rebuke Undead (which is certainly possible).  And again, to get undead with actual class abilities and such requires DM fiat on the whole Bone Creature issue... if setting specific material isn't allowed.  Create Undead and the Greater version don't do it otherwise.  If setting specific stuff is allowed then Animate Dread Warrior is on the table and all bets are off... but then again, a Wizard can do that just fine too, without burning an Advanced Learning for it.  It always hurt me that DNs had to chose between Awaken Undead, Animate Dread Warrior, and Haunt Shift.  I mean seriously, those are awesome spells for a necromancer, so why are they missing?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Gods_Trick on August 11, 2009, 02:54:28 AM

  Then Tier 2 means you can change the game, what was that phrase, Adders & Accountants, sure. And Tier 1's are classes that change the game better? You'd think in the spirit of it then to just put up Sorc as a weak T1.

  About Beguilers & DN's, the Druid is in it's tier because of Natural Spell. If you aren't using it your under-optimised. Why not apply that reasoning to classes who have the spell learning mechanic to use Arcane Disciple well?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 11, 2009, 04:07:20 AM

  Then Tier 2 means you can change the game, what was that phrase, Adders & Accountants, sure. And Tier 1's are classes that change the game better? You'd think in the spirit of it then to just put up Sorc as a weak T1.

Adders and Accountants has nothing to do with it.  Remember, the point of the system is to allow DMs and Players to achieve greater balance.  Now, consider what DMs actually care about, balance wise: how much does the class force me to change my campaign?  Weaker tier classes require the DM to change the campaign so that it plays to those classes' strengths, thus allowing them to shine (since players tend to like feeling like they're in the spotlight and can do something).  For example, one DM I know was recently complaining to me about how having a Fighter in the party meant he had to throw a combat into every gaming session, even when what we were doing didn't call for it, just because the Fighter players would get really bored otherwise.  Stronger tier classes force the DM to change the campaign to compensate for the classes' strengths.  If you want a low magic item campaign, you have to nerf the various T1 abilities that result in the party getting more wealth and more magic items.

Meanwhile, classes like the Sorcerer can indeed require the DM to make house rules and campaign changes to avoid having the campaign go off track, but it's FAR easier than keeping a Wizard in check.  After all, it sucks when you were trying to make a big epic fight with a Dragon and the darn Wizard just one hit TKOs it with Spectral Hand/Celerity/Shivering Touch, or when you're trying to make a campaign about mystery when the Wizard casts Contact Other Plane to learn about what the mystery is, or when you want to do an adventure about traveling and the Wizard just teleports the party to the destination.  At least with a Sorcerer, you generally know what tricks they've got up their sleeve, and can more easily compensate.  It's a whole different level.

Quote
  About Beguilers & DN's, the Druid is in it's tier because of Natural Spell. If you aren't using it your under-optimised. Why not apply that reasoning to classes who have the spell learning mechanic to use Arcane Disciple well?

No, the Druid is not in its Tier because of Natural Spell.  Natural Spell just lets the Druid be a melee powerhouse while simultaneously casting spells... it doesn't actually make the Druid capable of anything more, just capable of doing more things at once.  I've never said that lacking Natural Spell makes you under optimized.  I don't know where you got that idea, but you didn't get it from me.  What I said was that the system applies to equivalent optimization, so if you're comparing, for example, a Beguiler who's using Complete series books to get more spells known to a Sorcerer, then you should probably be comparing it to a Sorcerer who's doing the same thing.  Thus, a Beguiler with Arcane Disciple compares to a Sorcerer with Mage of the Arcane Order... and it's easy to see which one is stronger there.  One of them has a few game altering spells that are only really impressive at a few levels, and one has a few books of them that are impressive at all levels. 

It's really pretty straightforward.  And please try to read the system before commenting on it.  It's all spelled out nicely in the FAQ, including the very clear part about how it's measuring classes with equivalent optimization.  There's nothing about "under optimization" in there.  It doesn't matter if you optimize a lot or a little, as long as you do the same with each class.  The one class where optimization levels really change their standing is the Truenamer, which is marked separately specifically because of that.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 11, 2009, 04:50:17 AM
Jaronk that was a great argument/explanation. Bravo  :clap
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Gods_Trick on August 11, 2009, 07:07:22 AM

  Then Tier 2 means you can change the game, what was that phrase, Adders & Accountants, sure. And Tier 1's are classes that change the game better? You'd think in the spirit of it then to just put up Sorc as a weak T1.

Adders and Accountants has nothing to do with it.  Remember, the point of the system is to allow DMs and Players to achieve greater balance.  Now, consider what DMs actually care about, balance wise: how much does the class force me to change my campaign?  Weaker tier classes require the DM to change the campaign so that it plays to those classes' strengths, thus allowing them to shine (since players tend to like feeling like they're in the spotlight and can do something).  For example, one DM I know was recently complaining to me about how having a Fighter in the party meant he had to throw a combat into every gaming session, even when what we were doing didn't call for it, just because the Fighter players would get really bored otherwise.  Stronger tier classes force the DM to change the campaign to compensate for the classes' strengths.  If you want a low magic item campaign, you have to nerf the various T1 abilities that result in the party getting more wealth and more magic items.

Meanwhile, classes like the Sorcerer can indeed require the DM to make house rules and campaign changes to avoid having the campaign go off track, but it's FAR easier than keeping a Wizard in check.  After all, it sucks when you were trying to make a big epic fight with a Dragon and the darn Wizard just one hit TKOs it with Spectral Hand/Celerity/Shivering Touch, or when you're trying to make a campaign about mystery when the Wizard casts Contact Other Plane to learn about what the mystery is, or when you want to do an adventure about traveling and the Wizard just teleports the party to the destination.  At least with a Sorcerer, you generally know what tricks they've got up their sleeve, and can more easily compensate.  It's a whole different level.

Quote
  About Beguilers & DN's, the Druid is in it's tier because of Natural Spell. If you aren't using it your under-optimised. Why not apply that reasoning to classes who have the spell learning mechanic to use Arcane Disciple well?

No, the Druid is not in its Tier because of Natural Spell.  Natural Spell just lets the Druid be a melee powerhouse while simultaneously casting spells... it doesn't actually make the Druid capable of anything more, just capable of doing more things at once.  I've never said that lacking Natural Spell makes you under optimized.  I don't know where you got that idea, but you didn't get it from me.  What I said was that the system applies to equivalent optimization, so if you're comparing, for example, a Beguiler who's using Complete series books to get more spells known to a Sorcerer, then you should probably be comparing it to a Sorcerer who's doing the same thing.  Thus, a Beguiler with Arcane Disciple compares to a Sorcerer with Mage of the Arcane Order... and it's easy to see which one is stronger there.  One of them has a few game altering spells that are only really impressive at a few levels, and one has a few books of them that are impressive at all levels. 

It's really pretty straightforward.  And please try to read the system before commenting on it.  It's all spelled out nicely in the FAQ, including the very clear part about how it's measuring classes with equivalent optimization.  There's nothing about "under optimization" in there.  It doesn't matter if you optimize a lot or a little, as long as you do the same with each class.  The one class where optimization levels really change their standing is the Truenamer, which is marked separately specifically because of that.

JaronK

Huh. You know I've read your FAQ's and still assumed Natural Spell was implicit to why the Druid was T1. Knowing it's not, personally makes me think it doesn't seem T1. I guess that'll always be a problem on rankings but I'm trying to input what I know, not impugn the tiers themself. And no, that opinion about Natural Spell opinion was my own, formed from gaming and these boards.

My point ko'ed, thanks for taking the time to address my post.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on August 11, 2009, 07:24:16 AM
Huh. You know I've read your FAQ's and still assumed Natural Spell was implicit to why the Druid was T1. Knowing it's not, personally makes me think it doesn't seem T1. I guess that'll always be a problem on rankings but I'm trying to input what I know, not impugn the tiers themself. And no, that opinion about Natural Spell opinion was my own, formed from gaming and these boards.

My point ko'ed, thanks for taking the time to address my post.
The reasons why druids are tier 1 are:

A.) Because with all of their buff spells AND wildshape, the druid itself tanks better than classes that specialize in tanking (heck, at early levels, a single class feature alone is better than fighters, and that's without the fighter's gear or the buffing animal companions get from their masters - and they get much better assuming the druid in question puts any effort into making them awesome).

B.) They're full casters that get 9th level spells. They get great de/buffs and good battlefield control spells, and they can also get access to spontaneously-casted minions (most of which they can buff to hell and back), and several of those minions get spells or spell-like abilities that, frequently enough, grant them access to the spell-lists of other classes (not even including the horrifically overpowered shapechange).

C.) They can be a sneaky class, if they like. In the right surroundings, they can find traps, and they can certainly use their Tiny and Diminutive sized forms to scout. They're not quite a rogue, but for a class that doesn't have 'scout' as part of their job description, they do a damned good job.

D.) And they can do all of the above simultaneously. They can't quite break reality into pieces, make the pieces sit and roll over, and automagically make it their bitch like a wizard can, but they come close. With a bit of op-fu, they can even play with the wizard's spell-list, if they want to.

Basically, any given druid (especially the ones that take Natural Spell - and really, what druid doesn't? - but even normal ones) can do so many different and varied and insanely powerful things at any given time that they're unholy terrors for DMs to try to reign in. Hence, tier 1.

And they get worse out of Core.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 11, 2009, 08:21:56 AM
Huh. You know I've read your FAQ's and still assumed Natural Spell was implicit to why the Druid was T1. Knowing it's not, personally makes me think it doesn't seem T1. I guess that'll always be a problem on rankings but I'm trying to input what I know, not impugn the tiers themself. And no, that opinion about Natural Spell opinion was my own, formed from gaming and these boards.

My point ko'ed, thanks for taking the time to address my post.

Ah, sorry if I came down a little hard.  I've had some trolls to deal with of late... makes it hard to tell the difference sometimes between an honest question and someone who just has something to prove.

And Lycan pretty much nailed why Druids are in Tier 1.  To add to point B, Druids gained new spells with most of the books that came out, meaning they just kept getting more options.  Druids generally have somewhat weaker spells than a Wizard, but they get access to absolutely all of their enormous list automatically, plus they have the ludicrously powerful Wild Shape.  And of course "somewhat weaker spells than a Wizard" is not exactly a weakness.  That's roughly like saying an explosive is "somewhat weaker than a nuclear bomb."

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on August 11, 2009, 01:41:29 PM
I'll also add that druid are probably the easiest class to optimize. Even someone with low optimization and gameplay skills should be able to make and play an effective druid, which is nice considering the druid is sometimes known as the 'girlfriend class'.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on August 12, 2009, 01:27:44 AM

D.) And they can do all of the above simultaneously. They can't quite break reality into pieces, make the pieces sit and roll over, and automagically make it their bitch like a wizard can, but they come close. With a bit of op-fu, they can even play with the wizard's spell-list, if they want to.

And they get worse out of Core.

Just a minor de-rail. Can Druids do this at lower levels, or is this some Shapechange/Black Ethergaunt trick?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 12, 2009, 02:41:06 AM

D.) And they can do all of the above simultaneously. They can't quite break reality into pieces, make the pieces sit and roll over, and automagically make it their bitch like a wizard can, but they come close. With a bit of op-fu, they can even play with the wizard's spell-list, if they want to.

And they get worse out of Core.

Just a minor de-rail. Can Druids do this at lower levels, or is this some Shapechange/Black Ethergaunt trick?
From levels 1-5 the animal companion can cover the melee parts single-pawedly while the druid entangles things.  From levels 6-20, natural spell.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 12, 2009, 02:58:12 AM
Indeed, one shouldn't underestimate that darn puppy the Druids have.  The crazy thing is easily as good as many other melees on his own.

But they can't cast the Wizard/Sorcerer list without Polymorph shenanigans as far as I know (I could be wrong), so that part is strictly a high level high powered stunt.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on August 12, 2009, 03:14:33 AM

D.) And they can do all of the above simultaneously. They can't quite break reality into pieces, make the pieces sit and roll over, and automagically make it their bitch like a wizard can, but they come close. With a bit of op-fu, they can even play with the wizard's spell-list, if they want to.

And they get worse out of Core.

Just a minor de-rail. Can Druids do this at lower levels, or is this some Shapechange/Black Ethergaunt trick?
From levels 1-5 the animal companion can cover the melee parts single-pawedly while the druid entangles things.  From levels 6-20, natural spell.

Whoops, I meant to ask how can a Druid get access to Wizard's spells?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 12, 2009, 04:24:34 AM
Whoops, I meant to ask how can a Druid get access to Wizard's spells?

Right, I noticed that.  They can't without polymorph shenanigans, so in most games they can't, and at low levels they can't.  There are a few available tricks though, such as using Summon Monster 7 to get a Djinn, who can cast Major Creation (Permanent if applied to vegetable matter, so you could build a Soarwood zepplin, a Bronzewood Castle, or a moat of Black Lotus Poison if you wanted).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 12, 2009, 04:36:42 AM
Alternative source spell + Mage of the arcane order?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 12, 2009, 04:38:46 AM
Alternative source spell + Mage of the arcane order?

Ooooh.  Sneaky.  Hey, I wonder if there's a way to get Silent Image and then get into Shadowcraft Mage?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PhaedrusXY on August 12, 2009, 04:25:48 PM
Alternative source spell + Mage of the arcane order?

Ooooh.  Sneaky.  Hey, I wonder if there's a way to get Silent Image and then get into Shadowcraft Mage?

JaronK
Contemplative + Turn Undead (Sacred Exorcist?) + Domain Spontaneity (the feat)? Interesting idea.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 12, 2009, 04:37:34 PM
Doesn't the feat only let you cast each domain spell once a day?  If so that wouldn't do at all.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PhaedrusXY on August 12, 2009, 04:40:31 PM
Doesn't the feat only let you cast each domain spell once a day?  If so that wouldn't do at all.

JaronK
No, it lets you cast them spontaneously by burning turn undead attempts. Contemplative by itself would only let you cast them once per day (like a normal cleric). If it only let you cast each one once, what would be the point? You can do that anyway...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Samb on August 13, 2009, 04:59:06 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.[/roll]


This answer makes no sense. So if I think a class should be better/worse based on experience my experience makes me biased and hence wrong?  So no matter what I say you will be right?  Think about what you are
implying here: I (JaronK) don't know the class as well as you, which makes my assessment of the class more objective.

 So a cardiologist should not write a paper on the effectivness of CABG procedure because he knows the heart inside out?  So a psychiatrist shouldn't give a lecture on antidepressant because his interest in psychiatry makes him biased?

Can you see how rediculous your reasoning is?

I have to call BS on this.   Just because you play a class that suits your playstyle or personality does not change absolutely change your OP skills. You run under that assumption and then claim that you are not under such biases is insulting and invalid.  You should listen to people with more experience on a class since they have more..... Experience.  If what you want is a system that will truly reflect what you are trying to achieve then other peoples feedback and experiences should be taken into account and not dismissed as bias (of which many have accused you of).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on August 13, 2009, 07:33:14 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.[/roll]


This answer makes no sense. So if I think a class should be better/worse based on experience my experience makes me biased and hence wrong?  So no matter what I say you will be right?  Think about what you are
implying here: I (JaronK) don't know the class as well as you, which makes my assessment of the class more objective.

 So a cardiologist should not write a paper on the effectivness of CABG procedure because he knows the heart inside out?  So a psychiatrist shouldn't give a lecture on antidepressant because his interest in psychiatry makes him biased?

Can you see how rediculous your reasoning is?

I have to call BS on this.   Just because you play a class that suits your playstyle or personality does not change absolutely change your OP skills. You run under that assumption and then claim that you are not under such biases is insulting and invalid.  You should listen to people with more experience on a class since they have more..... Experience.  If what you want is a system that will truly reflect what you are trying to achieve then other peoples feedback and experiences should be taken into account and not dismissed as bias (of which many have accused you of).

I can make a psychic warrior that can make a pretty good run at taking out The Big Five at higher levels if I really want to. Does that mean that psywars are Tier 1?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The Lurker on August 13, 2009, 07:49:51 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.[/roll]


This answer makes no sense. So if I think a class should be better/worse based on experience my experience makes me biased and hence wrong?  So no matter what I say you will be right?  Think about what you are
implying here: I (JaronK) don't know the class as well as you, which makes my assessment of the class more objective.

 So a cardiologist should not write a paper on the effectivness of CABG procedure because he knows the heart inside out?  So a psychiatrist shouldn't give a lecture on antidepressant because his interest in psychiatry makes him biased?

Can you see how rediculous your reasoning is?

I have to call BS on this.   Just because you play a class that suits your playstyle or personality does not change absolutely change your OP skills. You run under that assumption and then claim that you are not under such biases is insulting and invalid.  You should listen to people with more experience on a class since they have more..... Experience.  If what you want is a system that will truly reflect what you are trying to achieve then other peoples feedback and experiences should be taken into account and not dismissed as bias (of which many have accused you of).

I can make a psychic warrior that can make a pretty good run at taking out The Big Five at higher levels if I really want to. Does that mean that psywars are Tier 1?
D&D isn't a PvP game.  It's a PvE game.  So, pretty darn good at taking out outsiders and dragons is impressive (because they generally are not glass bullets, unlike classed NPCs).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 13, 2009, 08:10:31 PM
Quote
D&D isn't a PvP game.  It's a PvE game.  So, pretty darn good at taking out outsiders and dragons is impressive (because they generally are not glass bullets, unlike classed NPCs).
+1
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 13, 2009, 08:21:47 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.[/roll]


This answer makes no sense. So if I think a class should be better/worse based on experience my experience makes me biased and hence wrong?  So no matter what I say you will be right?  Think about what you are
implying here: I (JaronK) don't know the class as well as you, which makes my assessment of the class more objective.

 So a cardiologist should not write a paper on the effectivness of CABG procedure because he knows the heart inside out?  So a psychiatrist shouldn't give a lecture on antidepressant because his interest in psychiatry makes him biased?

Can you see how rediculous your reasoning is?

I have to call BS on this.   Just because you play a class that suits your playstyle or personality does not change absolutely change your OP skills. You run under that assumption and then claim that you are not under such biases is insulting and invalid.  You should listen to people with more experience on a class since they have more..... Experience.  If what you want is a system that will truly reflect what you are trying to achieve then other peoples feedback and experiences should be taken into account and not dismissed as bias (of which many have accused you of).
No, what he's saying is that the more you play a class the better you get with it. 

If it's your favorite class, you've probably made twenty or thirty characters, and so of course you're better at using it than normal.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on August 13, 2009, 08:55:00 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.[/roll]


This answer makes no sense. So if I think a class should be better/worse based on experience my experience makes me biased and hence wrong?  So no matter what I say you will be right?  Think about what you are
implying here: I (JaronK) don't know the class as well as you, which makes my assessment of the class more objective.

 So a cardiologist should not write a paper on the effectivness of CABG procedure because he knows the heart inside out?  So a psychiatrist shouldn't give a lecture on antidepressant because his interest in psychiatry makes him biased?

Can you see how rediculous your reasoning is?

I have to call BS on this.   Just because you play a class that suits your playstyle or personality does not change absolutely change your OP skills. You run under that assumption and then claim that you are not under such biases is insulting and invalid.  You should listen to people with more experience on a class since they have more..... Experience.  If what you want is a system that will truly reflect what you are trying to achieve then other peoples feedback and experiences should be taken into account and not dismissed as bias (of which many have accused you of).

I can make a psychic warrior that can make a pretty good run at taking out The Big Five at higher levels if I really want to. Does that mean that psywars are Tier 1?
D&D isn't a PvP game.  It's a PvE game.  So, pretty darn good at taking out outsiders and dragons is impressive (because they generally are not glass bullets, unlike classed NPCs).

Point was that The Big Five are the strongest 'creatures' in the game, except (possibly) for deities (maybe). If I can compete on that level with a class that's widely regarded as the quintessential tier 3 class, I can take down just about anything, dragons included.

That's just because I'm good with them, though. They're by no means tier 1 (or even tier 2), and yet I optimize them well by default, and thus they're stronger for me than the average player.

Doesn't mean they're not tier 3, just that I'm better with them than your average werebear.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The Lurker on August 13, 2009, 09:09:22 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  It should TOTALLY be much higher!

A:  Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes.  Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class.  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else.  This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway).  As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.[/roll]


This answer makes no sense. So if I think a class should be better/worse based on experience my experience makes me biased and hence wrong?  So no matter what I say you will be right?  Think about what you are
implying here: I (JaronK) don't know the class as well as you, which makes my assessment of the class more objective.

 So a cardiologist should not write a paper on the effectivness of CABG procedure because he knows the heart inside out?  So a psychiatrist shouldn't give a lecture on antidepressant because his interest in psychiatry makes him biased?

Can you see how rediculous your reasoning is?

I have to call BS on this.   Just because you play a class that suits your playstyle or personality does not change absolutely change your OP skills. You run under that assumption and then claim that you are not under such biases is insulting and invalid.  You should listen to people with more experience on a class since they have more..... Experience.  If what you want is a system that will truly reflect what you are trying to achieve then other peoples feedback and experiences should be taken into account and not dismissed as bias (of which many have accused you of).

I can make a psychic warrior that can make a pretty good run at taking out The Big Five at higher levels if I really want to. Does that mean that psywars are Tier 1?
D&D isn't a PvP game.  It's a PvE game.  So, pretty darn good at taking out outsiders and dragons is impressive (because they generally are not glass bullets, unlike classed NPCs).

Point was that The Big Five are the strongest 'creatures' in the game, except (possibly) for deities (maybe). If I can compete on that level with a class that's widely regarded as the quintessential tier 3 class, I can take down just about anything, dragons included.

That's just because I'm good with them, though. They're by no means tier 1 (or even tier 2), and yet I optimize them well by default, and thus they're stronger for me than the average player.

Doesn't mean they're not tier 3, just that I'm better with them than your average werebear.
I noted dragons and outsiders because those tend toward "I'm a full spellcaster, but I also get more HD, BAB, and better saves than an equal CR spellcaster."  For instance, the planetar is a CR 16.  It casts as a level 17 cleric and has better stats than a level 17 cleric.  Planetars are probably the single hardest CR 16 creature to kill in print (because it's like a level 17 cleric, but better).  Dragons are hard because on top of having CR-4ish sorcerer casting (buffs...) they also have really good stats for their CR, double the fighter's bab, 5 natural attacks, and a breath weapon they can strafe with.  Oh, and they automatically have good AC and saves.

I mean, you can optimized your NPCs to the point that they aren't glass bullets, but dragons and outsiders have the racial ability "I have better stats than you" and casting on top (or SLAs for evil outsiders; blasphemy at will is still pretty potent).

But yeah, NPCs have the best offensive punch, but they are glass bullets.  Dragons and outsiders are harder to kill and have nearly the same offense, so they are a better "Dude, I just owned the hardest enemy" benchmark.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Samb on August 13, 2009, 09:11:31 PM
The whole point of optimizing a character/class is to take it to the top.  The concept of "moderate optimization" is a fallacy and doesn't make any sense to begin with. Either you make the best or you fail at it.  

Is this tier system for newbie DnDer's or for straight min/maxers?  Of course a less informed person would make an inferior psywar compared to someone like Lycan, yet JaronK would value the input of a novice over an expert like Lycan which is counterproductive in an arguement of what a class can and cannot do.

"Sure [class x] can all this based on what you said but since you are so good with [class x] I will only listen to a novice who says it can't all the cool stuff you just mentioned". If it sounds silly, that is because it is.

That is like saying you will only see a family doctor for your heart attack after he referred you a cardiologist. Even doctors admit when they are out of their expertise and JaronK's credibility would do well to take that into account.    
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 13, 2009, 09:29:37 PM
the point of the tiers is that they are RELATIVE, and are assuming that all the chars are on the same level of optimization.  lets say you are really good with monks. you can make a tier 2-3 monk.  but still, a person who has the same relative skill with a sorcerer as you do with a monk will be tier 0-1, and blow you out of the water.  THAT is the point of the tier system: to compare the value of classes against eachother assuming the same level of optimization.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Samb on August 13, 2009, 09:50:00 PM
the point of the tiers is that they are RELATIVE, and are assuming that all the chars are on the same level of optimization.  lets say you are really good with monks. you can make a tier 2-3 monk.  but still, a person who has the same relative skill with a sorcerer as you do with a monk will be tier 0-1, and blow you out of the water.  THAT is the point of the tier system: to compare the value of classes against eachother assuming the same level of optimization.
No that is not the issue I am addressing. My beef is that JaronK refuses to listen to any feedback that might prove him wrong.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 13, 2009, 09:50:20 PM
The whole point of optimizing a character/class is to take it to the top.  The concept of "moderate optimization" is a fallacy and doesn't make any sense to begin with. Either you make the best or you fail at it.  

If we "make the best" then all classes and levels are equal, since we get Pun-Pun at level one.  
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Samb on August 13, 2009, 10:09:23 PM
The whole point of optimizing a character/class is to take it to the top.  The concept of "moderate optimization" is a fallacy and doesn't make any sense to begin with. Either you make the best or you fail at it.  

If we "make the best" then all classes and levels are equal, since we get Pun-Pun at level one.  
Isn't that revealing....
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 13, 2009, 10:19:59 PM
EDIT: The last 3 posts made it in while I was typing this.

Quote
The whole point of optimizing a character/class is to take it to the top.  The concept of "moderate optimization" is a fallacy and doesn't make any sense to begin with. Either you make the best or you fail at it.
  ???
 Something's wrong with this statement. I disagree with it. The point of optimization is NOT to take it to the top. Its more have the ability and knowledge set to achieve a certain goal. Using that weak definition then pun pun would be the ultimate goal for all of us. Which just isn't the fucking truth.
 This is why I hate the term "min/max -er; -ing etc.." because learning the minimums and maximums are jus the very basics of optimization. Sometimes finding the maximum is harder, but the entirety of that its finding the working paramaters, that I might achieve "MY GOAL". WHich "my goal" varies from person to person but to say the point of optimization is to take it to the top is stupid, or at least misleading. As it neglects important things like "oppurtunity cost".  Easily we could make a one trick pony that has the highest sneak attack damage EVER!!OVER9000!!!etc etc... that would be taking it to the top, in a sense but wouldn't in and of itself be a playable character.
I also wonder when I read
Quote
"moderate optimization" is a fallacy  
Fallacy, I don't think that word means what you think it mean... cause i have to wonder... well what fallacy is it?
Red herring? No. False dillemna? uh-uh. Well? There is actually a list of actually fallacies and things either fall under one of the existing ones or not but one of the flaws of Stromwind and Oberonni was that they used fallacy to define thier problems but apparently many people didn't know what the fuck they meant and use that word to try to describe ideas they Disagree with. Not to say that, this is the case with you but a fallacy that is not.
 Perhaps you mean to say "oxy-moron" though i've just explained that its not implicitly an oxymoron either despite you seeming assertion that it is so.
 The point of optimization is about goal setting and achieving that goal within a set parameter, if it was about taking it to the top in the terms of power (an actually using that power) everyone would be trying to beat pun pun with omnificers and the such, but thats not the case.

Quote
That's kind of what people have been complaining about.  JaronK hasn't been using the same base level of optimization for all classes.  He's been using his personal preferences.
People meaning you and a few others, but that second part about personal preferences is bullshit and you know it, or maybe you don't get it. Its actually about the what one picks up reading the Co boards for years, coupled with trying to actually sort that classes on power tiers while everyone is getting pissed that thier personal preferences are not recognized.
 I'm pretty much a fucking Beast when it comes to optimizing barbarians ( and other rage like builds) but I'm never going to be like *barbarians are totally tier 3* because I can fucking kill your warblade All day everyday and twice on sundays. However, similar things happen... quite a bit. Further, if no one contests it that shit will fly, but it just so happens that everyone showed up and started talking about that shit all at once, Jaronk I'm sure would listen to reason if harder to refute evidence were presented.
 I do like the whole rubic of ... for example. The sorceror can theoretically change the way we play completely.
[spoiler](Even without the use of gimmicks like ... wish farming etc... which basically totally shatters the game on other levels. I find that to be one of the rare times when a dm should totally Duex ex machina your ass and make it some total fucking plot point to send many inevitables at you at some inconvientent point)[/spoiler] by doing various things like becoming the fucking Henry Bendix "Weatherman" from Stormwatch and we're then playing that instead of D&D. (yes its a comic book. Yes you should google it.)
  Frankly I'm sure the beguiler could do it too... throughs SCM or something, but to argue that is like suddenly saying anyone with acess to this Prc, feat or gamebreaking combo. Is automatically considered tier X, which probbably shouldn't be the case.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Soda on August 13, 2009, 10:32:01 PM
I like the way Frank did it in that link a while back. The tiers should account for the potential of a class but also better account for how easy it is to reach that potential.
For example, sorcerers are capable of great power, but can very easily fail due to poor spell selection. Druids, on the other hand, aren't so easy to mess up, because all you really need is the only core Druid feat, then turn into any animal, and you're doing fine.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 13, 2009, 10:35:39 PM
I like the way Frank did it in that link a while back. The tiers should account for the potential of a class but also better account for how easy it is to reach that potential.
For example, sorcerers are capable of great power, but can very easily fail due to poor spell selection. Druids, on the other hand, aren't so easy to mess up, because all you really need is the only core Druid feat, then turn into any animal, and you're doing fine.
That does sound pretty good. Could you post a link for that?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Samb on August 13, 2009, 10:54:59 PM
Wow midnight did I do something to make you into a grammer nazi?  Why don't you just calm (the fuck) down and read what I am really talking about, which is not the definition of optimization.

My beef was that JaronK sees no need to adjust any standing based on other people's experiences.  Look at my original post before malign me.  JaronK makes himself out to be objective, and we that use classes that he doesn't know as well as biased.  He creates a situation where he is always right, even on classes that he himself has little to no first hand knowledge.

"You know more hence I will not listen to you" Is essentially what he is saying.

High optimization for him might just be run of the mill optimization to someone familar with a given class.  However, if you point this out to him, he will more often than not cite: "you like the class hence you are bias and wrong" clause (2nd answer in his FAQ).  
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Soda on August 13, 2009, 10:57:24 PM
That does sound pretty good. Could you post a link for that?
Thar ya go. (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=50101)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 13, 2009, 11:27:26 PM
Wow midnight did I do something to make you into a grammer nazi?  Why don't you just calm (the fuck) down and read what I am really talking about, which is not the definition of optimization.

My beef was that JaronK sees no need to adjust any standing based on other people's experiences.  Look at my original post before malign me.  JaronK makes himself out to be objective, and we that use classes that he doesn't know as well as biased.  He creates a situation where he is always right, even on classes that he himself has little to no first hand knowledge.

"You know more hence I will not listen to you" Is essentially what he is saying.

High optimization for him might just be run of the mill optimization to someone familar with a given class.  However, if you point this out to him, he will more often than not cite: "you like the class hence you are bias and wrong" clause (2nd answer in his FAQ).  

Dude... I'm totally "the fuck" calm.  :lol
 Further I'm not a grammar nazi. I actually don't care if you misspell words or leave out ";" or "use who instead of whom". More like a Logicpimp so you handling my hoes incorrectly might get you bitchslapped. . . yeaaaah...

seriously though
 I just think that... "you like the class hence you are bias and wrong" clause (2nd answer in his FAQ).  many times is actually the case. Many people simply CAN NOT be objective.

However... I do see how the way jaronk phrases it can easily be used to to group think people or as an excuse to summararily throw arguments out. Now that... that would be wrong.

I don't see it as him saying "I'm right you're wrong, nyah" but I do understand how he could be admanant in what he's written thus far and before someone can be like...
"This guys not being adamnant, he's the one being BIAS and unwiling to listen to reason"
Someone has to address his actual argument.
 
  I found that explanation about how the sorceror can change the way we play the game, just on a whim one day to be a pretty high selling point personally. Though in a bubble I think sorceror sucks... its a 5 level class "if that" that gets a slightly retarded spell progression. Which means as a class... it fucking sucks, In my book.
 However... the brute power of the freedom to chose 9th level spells eventually or rather giving full spell caster progression is too damn much to just ignore and be like "this class is better equall, cause its gets every important spell plus has class abilities".
 Thing is... I think that each tier still needs better definition. Casting genesis and fighting evil from own demiplane using srcy and die + teleport kills... just changes everything.
Also accountants, and ... whatever... opening a buisness can be manipulated to generate exrta wealth and thats totally acceptable as they've made a few books describing it.

Lastly... I've no problem with you... you're generally pretty wity, actully. The idea that optimization is all about "building the best" seemed like an off comment is all.
have you read the Tao of optimization?
It just reimded me of that...

Quote
  .
A Druid is like a Cleric:
He lacks the power of a Wizard
Yet adds in versaitility.
This is the truth
Of the CoD:
Having 300 when you need 100 once
Is not optimal.
Having 100 whenever you need 100

Is
WHich is why saying its not always just about the MAXIMUUUUUMMM!@@!!SXXZZ
LOL
M_v



Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Samb on August 14, 2009, 12:07:10 AM
Assuming one has a bias and if they really have one are two completely different things.  Having a deeper understanding of a class is and being bias for it are not the same things and do not go hand in hand.

I dislike the Factotum, I have always loved rogues.  But even I have to admit my love for rogues is mostly fluff and RP reasons.  Mechanically factotum is just better.  I could take the same feats in rogue and more or less put them on a factotum and it would be theh same or better than a rogue.  But none of this has made me love a factotum.  (The thought of playing a nerd with an inferiority complex is just not appealing).

I am addressing his argument: having an understanding of a class and liking it does not make you bias 100% of the time.  It is illogical to dismiss input from people that is an expert just because you assumed they had a bias that very well might not even exist.  In fact it just makes JaronK look biased to his own rankings, and hiding behind his FAQ to resist any input.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 14, 2009, 12:23:11 AM
Assuming one has a bias and if they really have one are two completely different things.  Having a deeper understanding of a class is and being bias for it are not the same things and do not go hand in hand.

I dislike the Factotum, I have always loved rogues.  But even I have to admit my love for rogues is mostly fluff and RP reasons.  Mechanically factotum is just better.  I could take the same feats in rogue and more or less put them on a factotum and it would be theh same or better than a rogue.  But none of this has made me love a factotum.  (The thought of playing a nerd with an inferiority complex is just not appealing).

I am addressing his argument: having an understanding of a class and liking it does not make you bias 100% of the time.  It is illogical to dismiss input from people that is an expert just because you assumed they had a bias that very well might not even exist.  In fact it just makes JaronK look biased to his own rankings, and hiding behind his FAQ to resist any input.
Meh, he has altered rankings before based on input.  If you want to suggest a rephrasing, feel free.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on August 14, 2009, 12:31:21 AM
Quote
its a 5 level class "if that" that gets a slightly retarded spell progression. Which means as a class... it fucking sucks, In my book.

Ya sorcs suck. And Wizards are worse. Make it a specialist and suddenly it's only three levels long. Hell, that's only one level better than a fighter. Man, Wizards have got to suck.

Now take the Duskblade. Noone in his right mind takes less than thirteen levels of duskblade. Now that class must rock!




:)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 14, 2009, 03:16:55 AM
My beef was that JaronK sees no need to adjust any standing based on other people's experiences.  Look at my original post before malign me.  JaronK makes himself out to be objective, and we that use classes that he doesn't know as well as biased.  He creates a situation where he is always right, even on classes that he himself has little to no first hand knowledge.

You seem to be assuming a lot here, and I'm not sure why.  I DO use other people's experiences.  However, I've found that everyone has favorite classes... classes that they work better on.  I do too (my favorites are generally skillmonkeys and necromancers).  It's just instinct.  As such, for every person there will be a few favorite classes that look to low on the system simply because they're good with that class and not with other classes.  I'm not very good with Druids for example... they just don't click for me.  Yet I can do all sorts of impressive stuff with a Factotum.  Does that mean Druids are worse than Factotums?  No, it means I like playing skillmonkeys, and my playstyle works better with them.

The point of what you quoted is not "I know better than you."  The point is "whichever class is your favorite will look too low to you."  When I play a Factotum, it's going to be far stronger than when I play a Favored Soul.  The point is also not "I won't listen to your opinion."  It's "your opinion might be colored by what classes you like better than others, and I'll take that into account."  I have used other people's arguments for where a class goes... I placed the Psychic Warrior based on Lurker's (and others') arguments, in fact, and that's also how the Eurdite got placed.  I've wavered a LOT on the Barbarian, Duskblade, and Hexblade based on people's arguments too.  But very often I'll have one or two people going off about how great one class is, and a bunch of others are saying the class just isn't as good, and in that case I tend to go with the idea that the people who are raving about the class probably just play it more and are more familiar with it.

But do you really want me to place the Fighter where someone like Aelrynth says it should go?  Should I place the Monk based on where Sir G. thinks Monks belong?  How about all the people who think Rogues are Tier 2 along with Sorcerers?  Or the people who think Sorcerers belong down near Tier 5 because they suck so much?

I do listen to people's arguments, and I take a long time to decide if I want to move a class (because if I keep switching every week it's just plain confusing).  I just also take into account that there may be some bias, and I ask that people not get offended if their favorite classes aren't quite as high as they think they should be.  Take it as a compliment... if you can make a Fighter totally outperform a Warblade, then you're probably quite good with Fighters.  Go you.  But please don't assume in that case that you're making Warblades as well as you make Fighters.

The FAQ entry is not to say "I don't need to listen to you."  It's to say "please don't be offended if your favorite class isn't as high as you think it should be."  Everyone's favorite class(es) should look too low to them.  That's just how it is.

Also, note that I do not assume "average optimization" or "high optimization" or "low optimization."  I assume equivalent optimization.  Any time I see someone arguing for where their class could be, I start trying to match what they did with classes one tier up or one tier down from them and see what I get.  For example, when Lurker started talking about Beguilers could do powerful things and get solid utility spells because they could take Arcane Disciple and get powerful spells, I realized that he was using the Complete books to add spells to their spell list, at a cost of needing Wisdom and one feat.  So I thought about what a Sorcerer doing the same thing would get... for the effective cost of one feat (since you would have taken a metamagic feat anyway most likely and you get another one free when you enter the class) and the inability to take other PrCs, a Sorcerer could take Mage of the Arcane Order.  Similar cost, also from the completes, with a similar goal (gain more spells) but suddenly instead of getting one or two solid powerful utility spells you get books and books of them.  So I felt comfortable that with similar optimization, a Sorcerer is still far stronger than a Beguiler.  Meanwhile, doing the same thing with a Warmage gets you something weaker than a Beguiler (since your base spell list is much worse).  So it all works out.  I read his arguments, but when applied to other classes they didn't quite work.

I will strongly disagree however with the idea that the point of optimization is to take it to the top.  Breaking games isn't fun (at least to me).  If I wanted, I could easily make Warblades that do near infinite damage, but that's hardly fun, so I don't.  I stopped making Shadowcraft Mages for similar reasons.  The point of optimization, in my opinion, is to make your character capable of doing what you think it should be capable of doing when you sit back and imagine what your character would be like.  If you want to play with world shattering power you can optimize for that, or you could just optimize to the point where your character is a particularly scary assassin (and has the abilities to back that up), or you could do what I recently did and make a character who was just really good at building stuff because he's on a personal mission to improve the world.  Could I make that last character able to instantly develop the whole world in any way he wants via flowing time genesis tricks?  Sure, but once I accomplish that goal the character's not fun to play anymore... at that point I'd retire.  So that's no fun.  So I don't think the point of optimization is to go for the max.  It's just to go where you want your character to go.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 14, 2009, 06:35:01 AM
 :clap

I used to be of the school "WHAT!!?! monks are WAY better than THAT tier! look at THIS one!" but I realized that was just what I could do with a monk. using the same amount of trickery and skill to improve a higher tier class still blew my monk out of the water. splatbooking to all hell, I could get a mond that does about 116d8 worth of damage on a normal strike, and had the shadow sun healing/inflicting trick.... but the warblade could do infinite damage easier and earlier than I could do 116d8. 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 14, 2009, 07:17:46 AM
To make the guide more useful, it might be interesting to have a little rating of how optimization dependent a class is for effectiveness.  For example, the druid just needs a non-sucky wisdom and natural spell to rock rock on, even when played by a newbie, while a sorcerer can end up screwed for several levels if you started out with bad spells.

The warmage is rather optimization independent, as it is relatively* difficult to reduce or improve performance.


*Barring rainbow servant antics and the like.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 14, 2009, 08:25:33 AM
Quote
its a 5 level class "if that" that gets a slightly retarded spell progression. Which means as a class... it fucking sucks, In my book.

Ya sorcs suck. And Wizards are worse. Make it a specialist and suddenly it's only three levels long. Hell, that's only one level better than a fighter. Man, Wizards have got to suck.

Now take the Duskblade. Noone in his right mind takes less than thirteen levels of duskblade. Now that class must rock!

You're skill at sarcasm has pushed me from my chair... :lol

You know  what the hell I mean  :P. Its class feature are its spell progression, and theres no reason to play sorceror 6. So there might as well have been progression because the whole thing is just pre req for what ever prc your taking. Which is could have been better if ... I don't care to speculate. If. . . I suppose anything you do just makes it tier 1? Bah, I fail, at explanation.
*shoots self in brain. Waits for regeneration to kick in*



:)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 14, 2009, 05:05:52 PM
To make the guide more useful, it might be interesting to have a little rating of how optimization dependent a class is for effectiveness.  For example, the druid just needs a non-sucky wisdom and natural spell to rock rock on, even when played by a newbie, while a sorcerer can end up screwed for several levels if you started out with bad spells.

The warmage is rather optimization independent, as it is relatively* difficult to reduce or improve performance.


*Barring rainbow servant antics and the like.

Something in the FAQ maybe?  Sure.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Zarothar on August 15, 2009, 04:52:50 AM
I really should, yeah.  I'm not at all familiar with the class anyway... I'm guessing it's about Tier 2 otherwise?  And for the record, I don't get mad at anyone for expressing an honest opinion and backing it up with some evidence.  "I think X class belongs in Y tier because of Z" is perfectly valid, whether I actually agree with it or not.

Glad to see my suggestion was implemented. Thanks!  :D

As for the non-Spell to Power ranking. Well, it depends, doesn't it?

There are two ways to look at it:

The Abusive Method: The RAI for the Unique Powers per Day is blatantly obvious, but there are various ways around that restrictive cap. One could simply exploit the fact that CPsi is absolute shit and pull "RAW is Godly" shenanigans. See, the Erudite entry had a small mistake in it... According to RAW, that unique powers/day number is actually your unique number of powers per level per day. This is obviously not the intent, as a level 20 Erudite would have something along the lines of 99 unique powers/day - it isn't even capable of manifesting that many powers without infinite pp abuse. Alternatively, I think I've heard someone mention other ways of skirting the Unique Powers per Day cap... Something about Linked Power? I dunno. Anyway, you're looking at Tier 1 or 2, depending on how you value the ability to spontaneously use just about every psionic power that you manage to learn (and how much all that wasted XP means to you - very game-dependent, I imagine, as XP is not always a river).

The Intended Method: At Level 20, an Erudite can manifest a grand total of 11 different powers. Honestly, that's a bit shit. Sure, you can know virtually any damn power you want, but you can only use a maximum of 11 different ones. In the meantime, you've probably wasted (dependent on game) a bunch of XP learning a massive repertoire of stuff that you can't actually use regularly. You're not... terrible, but you're probably inferior to a Psion. Tier 3, perhaps, hanging out with the Wilder.


I'm not really much of an optimisation expert, though, so I may be totally wrong. :) As far as I can see, though, the Erudite-as-intended is crap compared to a Psion with intelligent power selection. Heck, the Psion can have almost the same amount of powers known flexibility with the help of Psychic Reformation with less expenditure of XP...

Cue someone to prove me wrong.  :p
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 15, 2009, 05:30:39 AM
It sounds like the Erudite without Spell to Power is just a lame Sorcerer.  Depending on how potent those 11 powers are though, that could still be Tier 2... or Tier 3.  I doubt it's bad enough to be Tier 4.  But again, Psionics is by no means my forte.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 15, 2009, 07:24:50 AM
the idea is to make two of the 11 powers/spells arcane fusion and the greater version of it, thus giving constant acess to all of the ones below 8th level- meaning that your other 9 powers are just eigth and ninth level powers, which is quite a good pool of them.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on August 15, 2009, 06:39:51 PM
It sounds like the Erudite without Spell to Power is just a lame Sorcerer.  Depending on how potent those 11 powers are though, that could still be Tier 2... or Tier 3.  I doubt it's bad enough to be Tier 4.  But again, Psionics is by no means my forte.

JaronK
But it doesn't prepare and can cast the first 11 powers it needs from its spells known, which gives it mad versitility. A wizard would have to spend a couple of feats*  to get that kind of versitility.

Spell mastery and another. Gets to leave intelligence mod spell slots unfilled to be used spontaneously. If they aren't spells that are spell mastered then they take a full round to cast instread of a standared action.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 17, 2009, 04:46:01 PM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  Whenever I've played it, it's totally been better than that.

A:  You're probably just really good at playing them.  You wouldn't have a favorite class you sucked at, right?  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger to you than to everyone else.  Plus, you've probably played your favorite class in a campaign that was pretty compatible with it (for example, a barbarian in a campaign with little socialization, or a rogue in a campaign with few undead), and some of the weak points didn't apply.  After all, choosing to play a rogue in the "attack of the endless hordes of killer zombies" adventure path would be pretty silly.

TL;DR: Feel free to talk about it, but take into account that your experience and experiences with your favorite class are better than average.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: sonofzeal on August 18, 2009, 04:29:18 AM
Q:  Why is my favorite class too low?  Whenever I've played it, it's totally been better than that.

A:  You're probably just really good at playing them.  You wouldn't have a favorite class you sucked at, right?  As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger to you than to everyone else.  Plus, you've probably played your favorite class in a campaign that was pretty compatible with it (for example, a barbarian in a campaign with little socialization, or a rogue in a campaign with few undead), and some of the weak points didn't apply.  After all, choosing to play a rogue in the "attack of the endless hordes of killer zombies" adventure path would be pretty silly.

TL;DR: Feel free to talk about it, but take into account that your experience and experiences with your favorite class are better than average.
You seem to be arguing that contextual advantages/disadvantages should be a facet in the rating system, that the inability of Rogues to do much against undead should weigh against them.  I actually took the opposite approach to my PrC Tier system, assuming that if you're playing the class at all then it's in a context that suits it, and to see how well the class plays to its own strengths rather than what it can't do.  You likely wouldn't play a Spymaster in a dungeoncrawl, and you wouldn't likely play a Beastlord in a high court political intrigue game.  And if they don't come up in those contexts, then they can't perform badly, y'know?  Or, to phrase it otherwise - people will only be looking at options that suit the context in the first place, so we should judge things by how well they do when the context suits them.

Not a complaint, just an interesting difference in approach.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Soda on August 18, 2009, 04:39:48 AM
You likely wouldn't play a Spymaster in a dungeoncrawl, and you wouldn't likely play a Beastlord in a high court political intrigue game.  And if they don't come up in those contexts, then they can't perform badly, y'know?
Part of reason for the tiers is that while a spymaster wouldn't do great in a dungeoncrawl and a beastlord wouldn't do great in a political game, a wizard/cleric could do great in a dungeoncrawl today, and then do great in a political game tomorrow, and then go seafaring the next day, and then empire building the next. They're high tier because they can respond effectively to a wide range of situations, while lower tier classes can only act in their specific niche, if that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: sonofzeal on August 18, 2009, 04:51:30 AM
Part of reason for the tiers is that while a spymaster wouldn't do great in a dungeoncrawl and a beastlord wouldn't do great in a political game, a wizard/cleric could do great in a dungeoncrawl today, and then do great in a political game tomorrow, and then go seafaring the next day, and then empire building the next. They're high tier because they can respond effectively to a wide range of situations, while lower tier classes can only act in their specific niche, if that.
Well yes, but how often are those four activities juxtaposed like that?  In most campaigns, you generally know which of the four you're likely to be doing, and which aren't likely.  Obviously there's some variety and some drift over time, but there's usually room to play to your strengths.

This isn't to discount Wizard flexibility!  Even if you know you're doing a dungeoncrawl, a Fighter may excel in one sections where he has straight corridors to ubercharge down, and fail in others with ghosts or awkward terrain.  A Wizard can adjust as he goes, preparing ice when he knows fire's ahead and fire when ice is ahead.  The Fighter's trapped, the Wizard can adapt, and that goes within any setting.  You don't need to be switching settings every five minutes for flexibility to be a good thing.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 18, 2009, 05:26:24 AM
a campain can include many things.

like a campain where you first go through a dungeon, return an item at the end to a king, do some political intruge, fight a battle or three, lead a political convoy through enemy territory, take over an enemy from the inside, and then rebuild it in your empire's image.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 18, 2009, 09:44:54 AM
I was specifically considering Rogues and undead when I made this, because it came up so much for me (or in games I was in).

Consider the following.  Imagine if you will that the DM has a story in mind for how his campaign will go.  Imagine this story as a road meandering through the country side.  A railroading DM might have a very narrow road, while a sandbox DM might have a very wide road, but basically the DM has a story that he intends his players to travel along.  It goes from story element A to story element B.  Some DMs build this road right before the gaming session, others build the entire road months in advance, but suffice to say there's a road of story that they intend the party to follow (though the party may wander back and forth across the road).

For the middle tier classes (T3s), the DM can pretty much stick with the road they wanted.  The PCs are unlikely to go too far off the road, as they don't have abilities that really send them flying off in other directions, but they can have fun whereever the road takes them, as their classes are flexible enough for that.

As you get to the weaker tiers, the classes start being unable to follow the road, meaning the DM has to alter their road for the PCs.  For example, I had a DM a while back complain to me that he hated DMing for Fighters, because sometimes his idea for the campaign that day was about intrigue or stealth or something, and he didn't want a fight... but he had to put in some combat, because if he didn't the Fighter player wouldn't have any fun and would have to stay at home in camp, as he would just be a liability otherwise.  And so the adventure for that day included the whole party sneaking into a hostile town disguised and gathering information, while a random monster attacked the camp that the Fighter guarded.  A similar situation happened to me when I was setting up places to go in a more sandboxy campaign... I set up four options.  One was mercenary work, one was hunting down an evil necromancer, one was tomb raiding, and one was spying against evil dwarfs.  I set this up without knowing what PCs were going to show up.  When they did, I realized two of them used sneak attack as a primary attack... and thus they refused to go after the necromancer or the tombs.  The result of stuff like this is that the DM has to move their road to play to the PCs strengths a lot more, even if the story in their head really doesn't fit with that.

As you get to the stronger tiers, PCs start to be able to jump right off the road.  You wanted to do a ship based adventure as they cross the sea, but the Wizard decided the 20gp price for a ticket on a boat was too high and just teleported the group to the other continent.  You wanted a low magic campaign and the Sorcerer just used Planar Binding to get a Midguard Dwarf, offering the pay the dwarf for custom magic items.  You wanted a horror campaign and put the party in a haunted castle, and the Wizard just cast Plane Shift because the party wanted to go to the City of Brass and hang out there.  At this point the PCs don't need a road... they can go whereever they want.  Now you have to build walls around your road if you want them to follow it at all (usually in the form of house rules, nerfs, and gentleman's agreements to stop teleporting everywhere and ganking every dragon in existance with Shivering Touch after researching their locations with Divine Insight and Lore of the Gods... yeah).  Or you, as a DM, learn to adapt REALLY fast to the player's actions.  But that's very hard.

So that's actually part of the system as written.  How much do you need to change your campaign plot line to let your PCs participate at all, and how much do you need to fortify your plot line against PCs just leaving it and going somewhere completely unexpected?  As a DM, I feel you need to know what you're going to have to look out for, and how the classes you're allowing can force changes in your game.  Part of this system is to allow you to see that in advance, as a lot of people will get blindsided by what some classes can do.  Heck, a recent addition to our gaming group decided to make a game world where magic was failing and magic items were becoming unreliable... he never expected us to use Planar Binding to make a non magical Soarwood Zepplin (thanks, Djinns!) and sail around as steampunk skypirates in response!  But that was the effect of just one Wizard in the party... one super genius with a lot of (admittedly fading) power in his hands.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on August 18, 2009, 03:04:32 PM
Jaronk... you're getting much better at these descriptions.  :clap  Awesome.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bogsnes on August 18, 2009, 06:35:24 PM
Was just wondering, what tier would the Cat Burglar made by bhu on these boards (and on gleemax) be?

It is looking around tier 4 to me, possibly a small bit weaker than the rogue because of his inability to get high damage...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Growin on August 18, 2009, 08:42:48 PM
I know very few people will be able to answer this question but here it goes.  What Tier is the base class nightstalker?  It's found on page 153 in Races of Ansalon.  Anyone have good suggestions for tier placement?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bogsnes on August 18, 2009, 09:01:47 PM
I am not very good at determining tiers, but at first sight it looks like about weak tier 3 to strong tier 4...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: RobbyPants on August 19, 2009, 08:43:48 PM
Now, I've noticed the bard is in tier 3, although my understanding is a lot of this comes from splatbook support.  What tier would you consider a Core-only bard?  What about Core + Complete Adventurer?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 19, 2009, 10:39:28 PM
bards still excell at social situations, while retaining some versatility in other aspects.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 19, 2009, 11:53:41 PM
Now, I've noticed the bard is in tier 3, although my understanding is a lot of this comes from splatbook support.  What tier would you consider a Core-only bard?  What about Core + Complete Adventurer?

They're pretty versatile, and they do get some good spells like irresistible dance.  Without splatbooks, your only melee options really appreciate the buffs.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on August 20, 2009, 01:00:13 AM


... What tier would you consider a Core-only ...

You know what, that's a really good question. By itself.
Core and no splats, gets more than enough info to deal with.
Still have infinite loops, still have T_G's breaking the core (after a week or so).

So, Core Only.
What do you think ??
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on August 20, 2009, 01:34:09 AM
Core-only bard: solid Tier 4

Becomes the typcial jack-of-all-trades master-of-none for the most part
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 22, 2009, 01:51:04 AM
Yeah, Bard in core only drops a tier easily.  The good bard stuff is generally found outside core... while a core bard is awesome in specific circumstances (when there's a ton of allies to buff, in social settings), they have the same problems Rogues do.  Too many situations where they just can't contribute enough (and since small party combat is one of the situations where core Bards are actually rather weak, and is also one of the most common situations for most parties, that really hurts).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: RobbyPants on August 24, 2009, 02:50:48 AM
That was my general thoughts.  I don't know enough about the outside sources to know what bumps them up to three.  I seem to remember a few war dances being key to this.  Something about giving all your allies +10d6 energy damage per attack...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on August 24, 2009, 03:00:01 AM
Dragonfire Inspiration.  But actually, a first level Bard with a loud enough instrument can, even in core, give an entire army +1 to hit and damage.  Not bad.  But it's only outside of core when you start throwing in Words of Creation, Masterwork War Drums and, via Dragonfire Inspiration, the concept of Bards stacking bonuses.  Plus, there's some sweet spells and bardic PrCs.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 24, 2009, 04:11:26 AM
its actually +12d6 energy damage per attack.

or +12 dmg and +12 to hit, great for power attackers (or better yet, get a magic item that lets you keep up two music effects at once, and give everyone +12 to hit and +12d6[energy]+12 damage on each attack; this way, the leadership feat becomes even more insane! just make every follower a monk with snap kick or something.)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on August 24, 2009, 05:24:02 AM
Morelike TWF rogues iaijutsu factotums.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on August 24, 2009, 10:32:52 AM
its actually +12d6 energy damage per attack.

or +12 dmg and +12 to hit, great for power attackers (or better yet, get a magic item that lets you keep up two music effects at once, and give everyone +12 to hit and +12d6[energy]+12 damage on each attack; this way, the leadership feat becomes even more insane! just make every follower a monk with snap kick or something.)
Er... what's that item?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Anklebite on August 24, 2009, 01:10:09 PM
can't remember, or I would have said.... not 100% sure there is one, but it sounds like something wizards would have made. maybe harmonizing weapon?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on August 30, 2009, 04:07:02 PM
arg... I'll try elsewhere
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: SorO_Lost on August 30, 2009, 06:28:54 PM
A NPC.
Title: Re: Tier System for Classes
Post by: Defiant on October 05, 2009, 01:26:21 PM
One thing that I've noticed has worked pretty well for me is persuading people into certain tiers depending on their skill level. So since I am pretty experienced when it comes to D&D, I tend to take a tier 4 class like rogue or marshal. Likewise, new players I suggest them into taking something from the higher tiers like sorcerer. So far this has been my preferred course of action, and it's kept a decent amount of balance.
Title: Re: Tier System for Classes
Post by: Brainpiercing on October 05, 2009, 02:51:45 PM
One thing that I've noticed has worked pretty well for me is persuading people into certain tiers depending on their skill level. So since I am pretty experienced when it comes to D&D, I tend to take a tier 4 class like rogue or marshal. Likewise, new players I suggest them into taking something from the higher tiers like sorcerer. So far this has been my preferred course of action, and it's kept a decent amount of balance.
This only works if the less experienced players at least listen to some advice. I keep repeating that my first druid was a total dud, and in my current non-epic table group the wizard is clearly sub-par. He constantly requires the DM to be nice to him to survive - and he counts on that, too. He is also the only guy who invested NOTHING into his defences. He has crap HP, crap AC, and his strongest combat option is Phantasmal Killer. He is only useful as a buffer, at least he understands the usefulness of haste. For the fact that he is playing an illusionist, he has never used a single illusion in a creative way. So yeah, Tier 1 doesn't mean much in the hands of the incompetent. Ok, maybe that WAS your argument.

However, I've also seen Tier 4 and 5 characters played with the same degree of incompetence (by a different guy), in which case words are not enough to describe the overwhelming degrees of suck. And when you gave that same player a present of a solid Tier 1 (he was playing a healbot cleric and got entire feat trees, including DMM, for free from the DM), he was the one that killed the group by suddenly professing that he didn't have enough time to read about all these spells and stuff, and was going to quit. Luckily I wasn't in that group.

But yeah, it's good advice as long as you have players at least marginally interested in the game. If you don't, I think it's just better to play a God wizard and buff the newbies through the stratosphere. That way they will feel great while not even noticing the shortcomings of their characters.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: AfterCrescent on October 05, 2009, 05:00:20 PM
I split these two comments and placed them here, in the new Tier thread.

This is the repost for continuation, due to the other one approaching the page limit.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on October 28, 2009, 03:29:01 AM
What tier would the Rebalanced Paladin be (I know there is a thread on homebrew classes tiers, but that is 4 or so months old and only one page)?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Operation Shoestring on October 28, 2009, 04:51:20 AM
can't remember, or I would have said.... not 100% sure there is one, but it sounds like something wizards would have made. maybe harmonizing weapon?

Harmonizing weapon does it nicely.

If not available, Lingering song and just sing the other song next turn.

Best way to do it is to craft a item of continuous Harmonize (as the spell, Races of Stone).  You start bardic music as a *move action*.  So you can swift action Insp. Boost, Move Action IC, and then have a standard left to do whatever.  like say activate another bardic music effect... they last 5 rounds after you stop anyway, 10 with lingering song.

Personally, I like bards because of spells like Improvisation, Harmonic Chorus, and Protege.  Such fun things you can do with those....

And there's always the Bard/Virtuoso/Sublime chord HOLY WORD instagib build. 

Practiced Spellcaster + Inspire Greatness (W/song of the heart) = +3 CL
Song of Arcane Power = +4 CL
Harmonic Chorus + Imbue familiar with spell ability = +2 CL

There were several other tricks to add CL, too, i forget them.

But basically, you end up being able to instakill anything lower than your Character Level that isn't Good aligned.

Oh, and let's not forget the Half-Elf bard Racial Sub Level.....
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on October 28, 2009, 07:12:06 AM
What tier would the Rebalanced Paladin be (I know there is a thread on homebrew classes tiers, but that is 4 or so months old and only one page)?

I'm afraid I don't often look at rebalanced classes, but isn't it somewhere in the Crusader range?  I'd imagine it's going to be Tier 3 unless it's gotten a bunch of gamebreaking spells or something, or it could be Tier 4 if it didn't go up enough.

@Defiant:  We've been doing the same thing for a while in our group, and it's worked great, though we do often have to pick the spells for the weaker players.  Still, it's pretty hard to go wrong with a Sorcerer who has Glitterdust and Alter Self.  Even a newbie can rock out if they know "Glitterdust it if it might be hostile, Alter Self if I need to have a physical ability."

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on October 28, 2009, 05:01:39 PM

@Defiant:  We've been doing the same thing for a while in our group, and it's worked great, though we do often have to pick the spells for the weaker players.  Still, it's pretty hard to go wrong with a Sorcerer who has Glitterdust and Alter Self.  Even a newbie can rock out if they know "Glitterdust it if it might be hostile, Alter Self if I need to have a physical ability."

JaronK

Lucky you, noobs who know they are noobs and how LISTEN to you. Not so lucky here....
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Midnight_v on October 28, 2009, 09:37:38 PM
Quote
Lucky you, noobs who know they are noobs and how LISTEN to you. Not so lucky here....
Yeah seriously man... amen.
Especially people who've played 2nd and not 3rd they're just like ... "Wait till I get some real magic... like FIREBALL!"  :twitch
Then they persist at that thinking...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on October 29, 2009, 01:56:41 AM
Hmm, we haven't really had problems with that.  But part of it is we also help make characters for our newer players based on their playstyle.  If they want to just blast everything, Wings of Flurry is what they get!

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 09, 2009, 03:09:42 PM
I have a question, not really a simple one: Does the Tier system change much for E6 and some house-rules? I need to consider this for a new campaign I might be starting for one of my table groups.

The background is that I want to use Partial Gestalt, and I want to make sure that no really ugly, or substandard, results come from this. Most critically, I don't want Tier 1 or 2 players to bitch at me too much because they can't gestalt.

The most pertinent mechanical differences are:


So, what, I'm concerned most about is: Am I dealing unfairly with Wizards and Sorcs (and perhaps psions, etc.) if I don't allow them to gestalt at all? I'm not concerned about clerics and druids, because DMM, animal companion and wild shape are plenty. The reason for my concern is that, depending on the level of optimization used, a wizard at level 6 can be quite a dud. Of course they could still take polymorph for their single fourth level spell (I would), but... well... basically that's a capstone ability. And I want a nice and slow progression up to level 6 (via reducing encounter XP), so plenty of time will be spent without it. There are several posts in this thread and the other one that levels 1-3 hardly matter, well, they DO matter here. Please advise.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 09, 2009, 09:29:34 PM
I have a question, not really a simple one: Does the Tier system change much for E6 and some house-rules? I need to consider this for a new campaign I might be starting for one of my table groups.

The background is that I want to use Partial Gestalt, and I want to make sure that no really ugly, or substandard, results come from this. Most critically, I don't want Tier 1 or 2 players to bitch at me too much because they can't gestalt.

I've never played E6, but I would assume at the very least the Tiers would be closer, simply because the strong Tier classes get exponentially stronger as they level up.  As such, some of the rebalancing things may in fact be overkill if you don't go to higher levels than 6.  Of course, a well made caster can still pull all kinds of silly stuff even by level 6 (Shrink Item and Explosive Runes, Animate Dead, Glitterdust, and so on are all available).

Quote
I'm using a 6x6 matrix of rolled ability scores (2d6+6), and players have to pick a line, column or diagonal, forwards/backwards, but IN order, and non-exclusively.

That's just going to result in good stats.  That'll make MAD classes a bit better (like Paladins and Monks), but the difference won't be significant.

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People only reach level 6, but after that they can "buy" feats for 5000XP. I've decided I also want them to be able to buy skill points at around 100 to 200XP, up to their normal maxima.

That actually helps casters more and makes Fighters pretty pointless.  Melees usually have enough feats (and a Fighter dip can ensure they get enough), with the possible exception of trippers.  But once you have Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Leap Attack, and Shock Trooper, what do you really need?  Meanwhile, having more item crafting abilities and more metamagic feats is pretty much always handy.

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Most classes can get their level 7 features, including 1 fourth level spell, maneuver, etc, with the use of one or two feats after reaching level 6.

Obviously, this makes casters stronger.  So, that's going to reenforce the Tiers.

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ALL spellcasting classes get their spell levels at 1,3,5,7. I haven't adapted the tables in detail, but it should work out mostly fine.

Whoa, that should make Bards pop up a good bit, which you should be sure to factor in.  If Factotums get this as well, they'd also go up a ton.  Also, be concerned if your group is into powergaming Sorcerer Kobolds... if they're not you're fine.  It's only if they want to bust out the Venerable Loredrake Dragonwrought Half Fey Desert Kobold (+3 Sorcerer levels!) that you're going to be in pain, but let's assume you won't allow that anyway.

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]Ritual magic is available for all higher level spells, but takes lots of people who all need to be level 6, and LOTS of time.

No effect on intraparty class balance, as they all do it together.

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]PrC requirements can be dropped, subject to discussion/approval, most prominently all skill requirements are dropped to 3 ranks. However, I don't really want to use the Tier system for PrCs, so let's leave those out for the moment.

Just watch out for Shadowcraft Mages, especially with your feat rule!  Also Tainted Sorcerers/Anima Mages.

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Cross-class skill costs are abolished, only the maximums remain. If you take one rank as a class skill then maximum is level+3

This would make PrCing easier if you hadn't already messed with that.  Otherwise, not a serious balance issue.

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Some spells are house-ruled, most prominently polymorph, to nerf them while keeping them useful. The nerf is not THAT strong.

So, casters still strong (there are plenty of spells to nerf!).

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Everybody (in the entire game world) gets their CON score as bonus HP at level 1. Constructs get the size bonus +12 and undead get either 12 or their Cha score, whichever is higher.

Handy, but not a significant effect on class balance.

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Everybody can take a template or race worth +1LA or HD, but does not take a LA, they take a RHD instead of the appropriate type. However, RHD are integrated into the Tier system, so low tier HD can be gestalted. Only Outsider and Dragon HD can't be gestalted, since I wanted to rate them as Tier2, or else everyone would want them. I would like some recommendations here, too, as to the rating of the other HDs.

This could actually boost melees significantly, as there are far better templates for melees.  Half Minotaur and Mineral Warrior are big ones, along with Lolth Touched.  I wouldn't rank Outsider or Dragon HD as Tier 2 (they're more like T3-4, they have good numbers but that's about it).  So, there could be a big effect here.

I think casters will still be strong enough in this game.  Other than the LA/HD thing, you really haven't given much to melees, and the fact that 4th level spells are still available (Polymorph, Animate Dead for Wizards, etc) means a creative spellcaster can still do stuff a melee can't dream of.  And you've provided some potent boosts to casters, most notably the easy PrCs, the higher level spells, and the effectively endless (in the long run) feats.  I think some players may whine, but at the end of the day I'd rather have an Archivist 3/Binder 1/Anima Mage 1/Tainted Sorcerer 1 than a Fighter 6//Rogue 6.  The only big one I'd watch out for is Bards... they probably jump up a Tier due to getting their spells at the same rate as Sorcerers (though that's not a gaurentee, there are far fewer nasty Bard spells even at the same level).  Paladins getting faster spell advancement could be nasty too.

Anyway, that's my off the cuff answer. 

TLDR?  Should work fine.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on December 09, 2009, 10:35:16 PM
I wouldn't rank Outsider or Dragon HD as Tier 2 (they're more like T3-4, they have good numbers but that's about it).

They also come with a series of immunities, resistances, and abilities by default of being that race. They also have a lot of support (Similar to bards, who were made significantly more powerful by the fact that EVERY supplement that came out after PHB had a lot of options for bards). Dragons especially have a lot of simple but powerful support options while outsiders have very advanced options available to them.

The biggest thing though is basic free things that seriously increase your resilience, depending on how Brainpeircing runs it. If you get that full 2 to a good save every time you multiclass, your dragon or outsider HD is a free +2 to all saves (Significant especially at lower levels, which is when templates and monstrous races appear most powerful anyhow.) in addition to potentially powerful ability bonuses (which are also far more impressive at lower levels).

I play mostly lower level campaigns, so much so that it's the only area I feel qualified to optimize. It also appears I'm semi-unique in this, because I see a lot of builds laid out that survive their lower levels purely on the backs of their less far-seeing colleagues.

All that being said, I don't think they're as low as Tier 4, but without expanding upon them I wouldn't say they're Tier 2. However, as far as I can tell the Tiers are all about potential, so they could very well be tier 2.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on December 09, 2009, 11:35:22 PM
Personally, I think that Rogue compares well to Outsider or Dragon racial hd.
Rogues have Trapfinding early, and Class Abilities later.
Outsider or Dragon don't have T, but have obvious synergy with Polymorph effects.
T is worth a tier by itself during early levels.
But that's just me.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 10, 2009, 12:20:49 AM
Personally, I think that Rogue compares well to Outsider or Dragon racial hd.
Rogues have Trapfinding early, and Class Abilities later.
Outsider or Dragon don't have T, but have obvious synergy with Polymorph effects.
T is worth a tier by itself during early levels.
But that's just me.

You have to look at what comes with the RHD. You get something for your LA, usually, and that is included in the value of the HD, plus, for those two, full BAB, lots of skills, and all good saves. I'm not sure Rogue is better.
I also have to say I can't see myself giving lots of trap-challenges to the party, initially, so that might influence my judgement.

But you may be right, I guess, Tier 2 is really a bit high, and it all depends on what you DO end up getting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on December 10, 2009, 12:46:17 AM
By themselves they're probably Tier 3 "good at what they're supposed to be good at". When you expand upon them they become much better.

Dragon especially, considering all the Dragonwrought Kobold garbage, is easily expanded upon and powerfully supported by subsequent supplements. The nastiest things that come from that feat have nothing to do with +3 to all mental stats and everything to do with the dragon type (Funny story: wanna balance Dragonwrought? Start at level 1. Not really, but our Dragonwrought Kobold literally died three times, twice in one session and permanently in another. Couldn't help but LOL).

Turning into more powerful Outsiders is also well-known and abused with little effort.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 10, 2009, 12:58:36 AM
I wouldn't rank Outsider or Dragon HD as Tier 2 (they're more like T3-4, they have good numbers but that's about it).

They also come with a series of immunities, resistances, and abilities by default of being that race.

 They also have a lot of support (Similar to bards, who were made significantly more powerful by the fact that EVERY supplement that came out after PHB had a lot of options for bards). Dragons especially have a lot of simple but powerful support options while outsiders have very advanced options available to them.

Well yeah, but you've got that anyway without the HD (as a Dragonwrought Kobold, for example).  The HD themselves are just full BAB, good saves, and decent skills.  So the levels themselves aren't powerful, they're just front loaded.  This is especially true in Gestalt, where you often would have gotten a lot of that anyway (for example, a Monk//Dragon only gets the good BAB and two skill points from the dragon HD).  So while dragons are quite potent, when it comes down to gestalting levels together I don't see how dragon HD themselves should be treated differently.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on December 10, 2009, 01:03:03 AM
You also get the d12 HD. And what if you, say, combine Wizard/Dragon? You get triple HP, 4 more skills and two more saves.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on December 10, 2009, 01:10:19 AM
A Wizard hardly cares. That is a good buff at low levels, but grows more and more unnecessary.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on December 10, 2009, 01:28:10 AM
Fighter gets two saves, more hp, and way more skills. Monk I feel is just an unfair comparison, because, as far as classes go, Monk's have pretty good HD.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 10, 2009, 01:37:20 AM
You also get the d12 HD. And what if you, say, combine Wizard/Dragon? You get triple HP, 4 more skills and two more saves.

Well, Wizards can't gestalt in this situation anyway (neither can Sorcerers, so there will be no Sorcerer//Dragons).  What you're more likely to see is Warblade//Dragon, where dragon just gives 2 good saves and 2 skill points per level (IIRC), or occasionally something like Beguiler//Dragon, where dragon gives better HP (handy), BAB (worthless), and two good saves.

By comparison, Monk would give the Warblade more than the dragon HD (fewer skill points, but bonus feats are more useful) and that's T5, while something like Paladin or Knight might give the Beguiler more.  Which reminds me, with your system Paladins are clearly higher tier, due to their massively increased casting.

Point being, while Dragons themselves are awesome, Dragon HD aren't terribly interesting... I'd rather have classes, even just T5 and below classes.  Dragon HD would be in the T5 range, while Dragons themselves are just great.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Aliment on December 10, 2009, 01:57:17 AM
Personally, I think that Rogue compares well to Outsider or Dragon racial hd.
Rogues have Trapfinding early, and Class Abilities later.
Outsider or Dragon don't have T, but have obvious synergy with Polymorph effects.
T is worth a tier by itself during early levels.
But that's just me.

You have to look at what comes with the RHD. You get something for your LA, usually, and that is included in the value of the HD, plus, for those two, full BAB, lots of skills, and all good saves. I'm not sure Rogue is better.
I also have to say I can't see myself giving lots of trap-challenges to the party, initially, so that might influence my judgement.

But you may be right, I guess, Tier 2 is really a bit high, and it all depends on what you DO end up getting.
I agree, I wouldn't take Outsider HD over Monk but when its part of Ghaele (HD+2 Cleric casting)...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on December 10, 2009, 02:09:22 AM
Point being, while Dragons themselves are awesome, Dragon HD aren't terribly interesting... I'd rather have classes, even just T5 and below classes.  Dragon HD would be in the T5 range, while Dragons themselves are just great.


I was making the assumption that if you have the racial HD you are that race, which may not be correct in Brainpiercing's rules (I couldn't find where he distinguished in his post).

In a non-houserule situation (which I feel I should be discussing in the Tiers for classes thread) if you have racial HD you are that race. So if you have Dragon Hit Dice, you "are just great". That puts you up quite a few Tiers. As for things being interesting, effectiveness at its finest is frequently boring. Dragon and Outsider Hit Dice aren't at all interesting, neither are Wizards (Spells are, wizards aren't), but they can have extremely high potential without much optimization.

That was the angle I was thinking from, which as I said was probably the wrong angle for this particular discussion.

Also, I view Dragonwrought kobolds as an enigma not the standard. I also wouldn't ever let anyone but the worst players play one, simply because I can't respect a kobold let alone believe it's capable of limitless power  :lol.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 10, 2009, 02:41:12 AM
Honestly, I'm not sure which dragons you mean that are so great.  I mean, other than Kobolds, what Dragon is so much better than, say, a Half Minotaur Water Orc?  Especially considering that you can't gestalt with T2+ classes anyway (so no Dragon//Sorcerers no matter what).  There are some nice outsiders too to be sure, but I don't see why Dragons or Outsiders are all that special.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on December 10, 2009, 02:50:32 AM
Honestly, I'm not sure which dragons you mean that are so great.  I mean, other than Kobolds, what Dragon is so much better than, say, a Half Minotaur Water Orc?  Especially considering that you can't gestalt with T2+ classes anyway (so no Dragon//Sorcerers no matter what).  There are some nice outsiders too to be sure, but I don't see why Dragons or Outsiders are all that special.

JaronK

I meant the Dragon type, which I assumed you picked up if you had Dragon racial HD.

So, say I take the Draconic template and the LA is replaced with a Dragon HD. I'm now a dragon and am eligible for everything that requires the dragon type and all the benefits of having it. I thought that picking up a dragon HD produced the exact same effect as the Dragonwrought feat, making your type Dragon.

As I said though, I was making assumptions about houserules. Both of those carry some uncertainty, so I basically put a mistake on top of a mistake and grew mistakes on them.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 10, 2009, 04:00:28 AM
I meant the Dragon type, which I assumed you picked up if you had Dragon racial HD.

So, say I take the Draconic template and the LA is replaced with a Dragon HD. I'm now a dragon and am eligible for everything that requires the dragon type and all the benefits of having it. I thought that picking up a dragon HD produced the exact same effect as the Dragonwrought feat, making your type Dragon.

As I said though, I was making assumptions about houserules. Both of those carry some uncertainty, so I basically put a mistake on top of a mistake and grew mistakes on them.

Actually, I thought the same thing was going on... you become a Dragon somehow (Draconic Template, Half Dragon, whatever) and you also have racial HD, and they're dragon HD.  But Dragon HD and Outsider HD themselves are Tier 2... something I don't agree with, simply because while many dragons are pretty cool (Mercury Dragons are awesome, and of course let's not forget Kobolds) I don't see them as being inhearently better than, say Humanoids (Mineral Warrior) or Monsterous Humanoids (Half Minotaur). 

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 10, 2009, 11:39:18 AM
Well, it's probably true. Most HD by themselves are probably Tier 4-5, even the Dragons. Getting the type is of course good, as well, but it's mostly a passive boost, and doesn't make you awesome in any way. What I do compare HD to, though, usually, is things like odd Fighter levels. And hey, they often win.

Perhaps my angle was wrong: Instead of rating the HD, I should rate the race or template itself. What do you guys think about that? If each template got its own Tier rating, then I'm always looking at the bigger picture.

So now I have to compile (or find) a list of LA+1 templates and races.... and maybe I could even do +2, because with partial gestalt, +2 isn't that big of a reduction of class levels. But I'll take that to a different thread.

As to the Paladin, Bard, Ranger issue: I guess these jump Tiers with different spellcasting. I would tend to use the Mystic Ranger progression for Pallies and Rangers, although of course mystic ranger removes other class features. My main intent with giving spell levels at 1,3,5 were sorcs and the tier 3 list casters. I'm not so sure of this right now.

Bards... I don't know, I guess their progression just gets compressed. Adepts are an issue themselves. I would say they don't get compressed casting, since they are an NPC class.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 10, 2009, 11:59:07 AM
Perhaps my angle was wrong: Instead of rating the HD, I should rate the race or template itself. What do you guys think about that? If each template got its own Tier rating, then I'm always looking at the bigger picture.

Doable, but it would take a lot of work.  Me, I'd honestly just not allow LA or racial HD in an E6 game.  Much simpler!

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 11, 2009, 11:21:59 AM
Hmm, it sure is a bit of work. I'm just taking the infos from Crystal Keep, or else I'll go crazy I think. I'm still only extracting templates and races, and I've started rating some of the templates...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 11, 2009, 01:22:57 PM
Hmm, it sure is a bit of work. I'm just taking the infos from Crystal Keep, or else I'll go crazy I think. I'm still only extracting templates and races, and I've started rating some of the templates...

It'll be a lot to do, but go for it.  The big name power templates are Half Minotaur and White Dragonspawn, while Mineral Warrior, Lolth Touched, Dark, Shadow, Saint, and Phrenic all get mention regularly.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 11, 2009, 02:13:58 PM
Hmm, it sure is a bit of work. I'm just taking the infos from Crystal Keep, or else I'll go crazy I think. I'm still only extracting templates and races, and I've started rating some of the templates...

It'll be a lot to do, but go for it.  The big name power templates are Half Minotaur and White Dragonspawn, while Mineral Warrior, Lolth Touched, Dark, Shadow, Saint, and Phrenic all get mention regularly.

JaronK
Well, that's good, I don't think Dark, Shadow, and lolth touched are in the Crystal Keep index.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on December 11, 2009, 04:02:13 PM
Lolth-touched is at least on the PDF I downloaded from there. Indexed under templates given by a deity.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 20, 2009, 04:38:36 AM
I've been meaning to put this in the first post for a while now... I'll link it in later.

A big question that's come up recently is this: what exactly is the purpose of the tiers, and what do they measure?  Many people think it means raw power, but that's not the case.  Raw power is pretty worthless as a measurement, as there are too many areas to be powerful in.  What's stronger after all... the Barbarian that can do 2000 damage a hit, or the Factotum who can be completely impossible to detect?  In the end, the best explanation I can give is a metaphor.

Imagine for the moment a map.  This map represents the entire campaign world as the DM knows it.  The map is four dimensional in that it includes time... it includes the invasion of the Mindflayers 10,000 years before the start of the game, the Orc invasion that's coming a year after the game starts, the fact that the princess of the land will be kidnapped right after the game starts, and so on.  This map also includes any notable NPCs, any locations... basically everything the DM knows about (and thus everything that exists in the game world).  Some DMs make their entire map before the players even sit down the first time, while others build it piecemeal as the game progresses.  Some build a huge map, most of which the players will never see, others build a map that's just big enough to include everything the players will see.  But this map exists for all games in some form.

Through this map runs a road.  This road represents the path the DM expects the PCs to take through the game world.  It too is four dimensional.  Perhaps the PCs are expected to be chased out of their starting village by some attacking monsters, then lured to the castle with promises of reward for rescuing the princess, or whatever.  In some cases, this road may represent the story the DM wants to tell via the PCs, in other cases the road connects from one encounter to the next.  For some DMs, this road will be very thin, and the PCs are expected to follow a very specific set of actions... this is generally called railroading.  For other DMs, this road is very wide, such that the PCs can wander all over without ever leaving the expected road... this is called sandbox play.  And as with the map, some DMs plan out the road far in advance, while other DMs only plan it out session by session, but in any case there's always some kind of road.

So let's imagine an example, using what we've got above.  We've got our campaign world of, let's say, Jaronland.  As the DM, I've planned out the continent full of city states, with each city state being controlled by one race and some races controlling multiple such city states.  It's a somewhat low magic world... WBL is normal but it's hard to get specific magic items.  I'm a pretty sandboxy DM, so the road is pretty wide, but it starts with the PCs getting chased out of their home and sent to a castle where they learn that there is a healthy reward for whoever can rescue the princess, and rescuing the princess will result in the PCs learning of an upcoming orc invasion which they must then prepare for.  Eventually they'll gain power and treasure by clearing out some dungeons and solving tasks for allies and amass an army and repel the invasion (okay, so I just finished playing Dragon Age).  In this case, the road is that series of events... it's reasonably wide, so as long as the PCs are chasing those goals running around clearing out enemies and making friends they're basically on the road. 

Now, what do the Tiers represent?  Weaker tier classes will require help to follow my road if I don't specifically build the road to play to their strengths.  A Fighter, for example, might be completely worthless when the PCs have to travel over to deal with the elves and convince them to help, as diplomacy is required and the Fighter has absolutely no diplomatic abilities.  When dealing with the evil necromancer in his tower, the Ninja can't do anything since all the enemies are undead unless I make sure to include special gear for him.  At the very weakest tiers even playing to their strengths won't help... a Warrior will have trouble being useful even in standard combat encounters unless he's heavily optimized.  As a DM, I'm going to have to work to make sure my weak tier players can follow my road, by tailoring encounters for them (suddenly, some elves are ambushed by monsters!  By defeating the monsters, you make the elves like you more!  Good job Fighter!), by giving them loot and gear that fixes their class problems (when you unlock the chest, you find a Truedeath Crystal.  Yay ninja, now you can do something useful!), or by otherwise giving them little nudges that help them out (You find a magical warrior only +1 Keen Enfeebling Rapier that's mysteriously Warrior only!).

At the other end of the spectrum are the powerful tier classes.  These guys can follow the road easily, but they can also leave it entirely.  My campaign as listed would be pretty lame if the Cleric just says "I cast Miracle.  There, we win the battle against the Orcs.  What's next?"  Likewise, having the Wizard assassinate the Orc leader with Love's Pain would be pretty silly.  And if the players say "we need to get stronger before the invasion... let's Plane Shift to Ysgard!" things are going to get very weird, as they've gone not just off my road, but right off my map.  Suddenly instead of having to help my players along the road, I now have to put barriers on the side of the road to keep them in.  This can be nerfs (a mysterious force prevents Plane Shift from working!), coincidences that keep them from using their nastiest tricks (nobody ever loved the Orc leader.  Also, he has an antimagic torq that's always on.  Stop that), or gentleman's agreements with the players (um, please don't cast miracle in the final battle.  It'll mess up my plans.  Thanks).

At this point I should mention that I don't consider players to be asses for breaking my game.  It's not their fault... really.  The rules of the game give them these abilities, and I gave them this scenario, and it makes perfect sense for their characters to do what works in saving their homeland.  After all, can you really imagine a Wizard saying "hey, there's the killer dragon that's going to eat us all.  I could totally kill it with Shivering Touch and then go home safe and sound with all my friends safe too, but instead I'm just going to cast Haste on the Fighter so he feels better and the fight is more interesting"?  That would be like a soldier in battle saying "well, our enemies aren't as well equipped as us, so I'm going to get out of my tank and try and attack them with a sword!"  His CO would punch him in the face and get him back in that unfair tank of his right away (or use some other appropriate military discipline).  Point being, it's not that my players are asses for doing exactly what they're allowed to do.  The problem is the class, not the player (unless the player is being particularly abusive after being asked otherwise, or intentionally messing up the game.  But I don't attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance).  Sure, you can just ask the player not to use the abilities that get the job done really well, but that gets annoying as you quickly run into the situation where the player is saying "okay, I can beat this encounter in the following ways.  Which ones are allowed today?"  And that's just not a challenging dramatic way to win battles at all. 

Anyway, in the center of the Tiers you've got the classes that can follow most roads quite nicely, and yet don't easily go flying right off said roads.  These are the Tier 3 and 4 classes.  Sometimes they can't follow the road perfectly, sometimes they may be able to leave it, but in general they stay on that road.

And of course you can make particularly easy roads to follow, or hard roads to follow.  This works great if everyone's at a similar power level.  I'm running a game right now where everyone's a level 6 commoner.  I just make the road easy to follow... they most recently had to defeat a group of awakened house cats (the epic battle continues!).  In a normal game they'd be screwed, but the difficulty level was set low enough that they could do it (though one of them got sucker punched by a stunning fist to the nuts from a kitten... for one damage.  Go Monk Kitty!).

So, one can then catagorize the tiers like this, if one wants:

Tier 6:  Can only follow very easy roads.  Is virtually incapable of surprising the DM or leaving the road.  Will need help to keep up.

Tier 5:  Will often have trouble following roads where their specialties don't apply.  Will almost never leave the road, though might rarely do something unexpected.

Tier 4:  Will occasionally have trouble following roads in certain circumstances.  Will very rarely leave the road, but may do unexpected things occasionally.

Tier 3:  Will only rarely have trouble following the DM's road.  Sometimes will have unexpected abilities that allow them to leave the road. 

Tier 2:  Will occasionally have trouble following roads in certain circumstances.  Will often have abilities that allow them to leave the road, and thus require significant observation to avoid having them go in an unexpected direction.

Tier 1:  Will virtually always be able to follow any road not specifically tailored to be difficult for them.  Has abilities that allow them to be very unpredictable and can leave even the widest of roads if played with any amount of creativity.  Requires significant observation to avoid having them go in a completely unexpected direction.

Note there's a funny thing that happens with the Tier 2 classes, as they're as powerful as Tier 1s (and thus as able to leave the road) and yet they're not as flexible as Tier 3s most of the time.  They're just sort of special that way.  In a weird way, they're some of the most difficult classes to deal with, as they sometimes need help, and sometimes need restraining.  For example, a Sorcerer might be able to Planar Bind something with incredible power to help deal with one situation, and may thus dramatically change your game world (for example by binding a Midguard Dwarf and thus becoming able to get whatever magic items they might want in the example game above), and yet be unable to do something like talk with people and gather information in a town.

Anyway, I hope that all makes sense.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 20, 2009, 05:56:19 PM
It's a good analogy that's especially apt. You might just want to cut to the quick though and say at the top something like 'the Tiers: a tool for balancing parties'. You also might want to put a disclaimer that a PC is only as strong as the player, a player that runs their Wizard like a Warmage isn't playing a Tier 1 character.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 20, 2009, 09:46:22 PM
It's a good analogy that's especially apt. You might just want to cut to the quick though and say at the top something like 'the Tiers: a tool for balancing parties'. You also might want to put a disclaimer that a PC is only as strong as the player, a player that runs their Wizard like a Warmage isn't playing a Tier 1 character.

I'm pretty sure that stuff is in the original posts.  But I can do some reorganization.  I get pretty wordy sometimes.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 21, 2009, 05:38:23 AM
Whoa you're still running this thing? Hmm well in that case can I get a community rating on the base classes that you are missing? There are TONS!
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 21, 2009, 05:55:15 AM
I've always been kind of curious what the consensus would be for the Wu Jen, Spirit Shaman and the Generic Caster. They're all special cases, well maybe the Wu Jen isn't that special.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 21, 2009, 06:37:12 AM
Rough guess is the Wu Jen at Tier 2-3 and the same for the Generic Caster.

And if the community wants to vote on where a specific class I don't have is that's fine... with enough arguing I may put them in with Italics.  I don't put them in without that unless I've actually played the class or played with the class.  But yes, I still update this rarely.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: DavidWL on December 21, 2009, 06:43:36 AM
Generic Caster is probably (low) tier 1 - much better than the sorcerer because of much improved spell selection.  Being able to mix in things like Miracle, Consumptive Field, Anyspell, and Greater Anyspell significantly increase the sorcerer's power and flexibility.

Spirit Shaman is also low tier 1 or tier 2 - casts comparable to a Druid (both versatility and spell selection, changeable daily), but without the awesomeness that is an animal companion or wildshape.

I'd probably put Wu Jen at tier 2 - like a wizard, but with a much reduced spell list.

Best,
David
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 21, 2009, 06:54:10 AM
Full caster with (techniclly) no limit on spells known and a decent spell list says tier 1. Likely a low tier 1, but teir one none the cless.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: sonofzeal on December 21, 2009, 07:08:43 AM
Full caster with (techniclly) no limit on spells known and a decent spell list says tier 1. Likely a low tier 1, but teir one none the cless.
The difference between a Wizard and a Warmage is spell list.  Wu Jens are intended to be Wizard-ish, but since they have a distinct spell list (that's rarely if at all expanded in any books), they lose out heavily compared to Wizards.  I'd probably put them high Tier 2.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 21, 2009, 07:12:14 AM
Spirit Shaman is the druid list LTIC. Quite well supported.

That said, they likely fall last on tier one if there (They are basicly druids without 2 fighters as class features. Every other class on teir is better then them).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: sonofzeal on December 21, 2009, 07:34:17 AM
Spirit Shaman is the druid list LTIC. Quite well supported.

That said, they likely fall last on tier one if there (They are basicly druids without 2 fighters as class features. Every other class on teir is better then them).
Ah, I thought you were talking about Wu Jen.  Spirit Shaman, yeah, "low 1".
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 21, 2009, 07:50:45 AM
Generic Caster is probably (low) tier 1 - much better than the sorcerer because of much improved spell selection.  Being able to mix in things like Miracle, Consumptive Field, Anyspell, and Greater Anyspell significantly increase the sorcerer's power and flexibility.

Is a generic caster better than a Sorcerer? Definitely, but it still has the same limited spells per day and slightly more restrictive multiclassing. Because of its limited SpD it can break the game in only a few set ways, making it the definition of Tier 2 (but a strong one). Oh, a Generic Caster can't take Anyspell or Greater Anyspell or any other spell that's only in a domain, they get access to Cleric spells but not all the domains.

Quote
Spirit Shaman is also low tier 1 or tier 2 - casts comparable to a Druid (both versatility and spell selection, changeable daily), but without the awesomeness that is an animal companion or wildshape.

I'd probably put Wu Jen at tier 2 - like a wizard, but with a much reduced spell list.
Best,
David

I really would flip those assignments. Sure the Wu Jen's list is much shorter than a Wizard's but it still gets more than a dozen spells available per level. Their is a rule in the SpC about adding spells to the Wu Jen list, it's 'up to the DM' so there's a lot of variability.

A lot of people assign Spirit Shaman to Tier 1, having played one I don't understand why. Druid spells are nice, sure and the Spirit Shaman gets nine levels of them. But their daily allotment of spells known is HORRIBLE in play, literally the least fun I've ever had with a character. And its class features suck unless you're playing Ghost Busters d20. I've never found a way to cover all my bases like I could with a Sorcerer. My optimization-fu at the time was pretty weak, but even now outside of Spontaneous Summoning/Curing and maybe dipping for domains I'm not confident I could make a Spirit Shaman rock as hard as any other Tier 1s or 2s.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: DavidWL on December 21, 2009, 07:56:52 AM
Is a generic caster better than a Sorcerer? Definitely, but it still has the same limited spells per day and slightly more restrictive multiclassing. Because of its limited SpD it can break the game in only a few set ways, making it the definition of Tier 2 (but a strong one). Oh, a Generic Caster can't take Anyspell or Greater Anyspell or any other spell that's only in a domain, they get access to Cleric spells but not all the domains.

I disagree.  A divine generic caster can take the Initiate to Mystra feat to get the ability to cast in antimagic fields and dead magic zones, as well as getting the anyspell spells.  Also it gets the ability to cast miracle.  Between these 3 spells, it can emulate a vast number of spells, making it almost as versatile as a wizard (but with access to divine spells as well).
Quote
I really would flip those assignments. Sure the Wu Jen's list is much shorter than a Wizard's but it still gets more than a dozen spells available per level. Their is a rule in the SpC about adding spells to the Wu Jen list, it's 'up to the DM' so there's a lot of variability.

Getting more than a dozen per level is a lot like Beguiler or Dread Necromancer ...

However, fair is fair - if the DM is willing to add spells, then I'd put the Wu Jen at (low) tier 1.

Best,
David
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 21, 2009, 08:44:54 AM
Is a generic caster better than a Sorcerer? Definitely, but it still has the same limited spells per day and slightly more restrictive multiclassing. Because of its limited SpD it can break the game in only a few set ways, making it the definition of Tier 2 (but a strong one). Oh, a Generic Caster can't take Anyspell or Greater Anyspell or any other spell that's only in a domain, they get access to Cleric spells but not all the domains.

Agreed.  High Tier 2.  It has the big power spells (it's basically a Sorcerer/Favoured Soul thing) but it lacks the versitility to have the right spell for every situation.  That's Tier 2 through and through.  Stronger than a Sorcerer to be sure, but not in a whole other tier... heck, is a Generic Spellcaster even that much better than a Sorcerer who picks all the strongest Sorc/Wiz spells they can?  I think it's pretty close.

Quote
I'd probably put Wu Jen at tier 2 - like a wizard, but with a much reduced spell list.
Best,
David

Possibly this, but I haven't looked at the Wu Jen list in a while, and whether the DM adds all those extra spells or not really changes things a lot (plus it depends which spells get added).  If the Wu Jen gets tons of spells, it would be low Tier 1 most likely.  With the current spell list it's 2-3 I'd guess, but like I said I haven't looked at the list in a while.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 21, 2009, 09:13:42 PM
Is a generic caster better than a Sorcerer? Definitely, but it still has the same limited spells per day and slightly more restrictive multiclassing. Because of its limited SpD it can break the game in only a few set ways, making it the definition of Tier 2 (but a strong one). Oh, a Generic Caster can't take Anyspell or Greater Anyspell or any other spell that's only in a domain, they get access to Cleric spells but not all the domains.

I disagree.  A divine generic caster can take the Initiate to Mystra feat to get the ability to cast in antimagic fields and dead magic zones, as well as getting the anyspell spells.  Also it gets the ability to cast miracle.  Between these 3 spells, it can emulate a vast number of spells, making it almost as versatile as a wizard (but with access to divine spells as well).

I don't think a divine generic caster can get in to Initiate of Mystra by RAW since it requires Cleric level 3rd. Most DMs would probably allow things like a Favoured Soul to get in, the only possible snag with generic Casters is I don't think they require a god, they learn spells like a Sorcerer, except they can be divine or arcane. So I don't think this would quite be standard for optimization, so it would bump a Tier 2 up to Tier 1 probably.

Stronger than a Sorcerer to be sure, but not in a whole other tier... heck, is a Generic Spellcaster even that much better than a Sorcerer who picks all the strongest Sorc/Wiz spells they can?  I think it's pretty close.

I've made this points to my friends at the table and for some reason they just didn't believe it. If your in doubt just pick about 5 high level spells you'd like a character to have. Most of them are probably Wizard spells, although Heal and Holy Word are nice to have. By RAW a Sorcerer could learn spells not on the Sorcerer/Wizard list, so really the advantage of the generic Caster is its feats, which are awesome.

I also think a generic Expert and Warrior should be both Tier 4, they get to choose from an OK list of class features, and can choose their good save(s) and class skills. Any particular build should be able to do one thing well or a few things adequately.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on December 21, 2009, 09:57:16 PM
There's something in dragon magic or races of the dragon that says any god-dependent class (with the cleric list?) qualifies for initiate feats as if it were a cleirc.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 21, 2009, 10:04:47 PM
There's something in dragon magic or races of the dragon that says any god-dependent class (with the cleric list?) qualifies for initiate feats as if it were a cleirc.

Really? I'll have to look that up because I have an Archivist to break. Anyways, I guess it's important if it's works with all divine classes, because a generic Divine Caster doesn't need a god to get their magic.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: DavidWL on December 22, 2009, 01:05:00 AM
There's something in dragon magic or races of the dragon that says any god-dependent class (with the cleric list?) qualifies for initiate feats as if it were a cleirc.

Really? I'll have to look that up because I have an Archivist to break. Anyways, I guess it's important if it's works with all divine classes, because a generic Divine Caster doesn't need a god to get their magic.

I think it was dragon magic around page 13 or so.  Also, I think everyone in the forgotten realms needs to declare a god (or some such) - I vaguely remember someone arguing to that effect.

Best,
David
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 22, 2009, 02:03:38 AM
Everyone listened to me this time. To my knowledge, here are most all the separate base classes we are missing. I lack quite a few from dragon mags (I know some of those other alignment paladins are actually not broken). Get cracking people!:
[spoiler]ardent
bardic sage
battle sorcerer
cloistered cleric (obviously still tier 1)
divine bard
divine mind (Somebody said tier 4 but I don't see it on the now reposted OP)
domain wizard (obviously still tier 1)
dragon shaman (first page had no consensus on 4...)
dragonfire adept (Hmm probably 4 also)
druidic avenger (obviously still tier 1)
eidolon
eidoloncer
incarnate
lurk (Definately tier 5. I wish they could actually do something)
mystic (Tier 2, one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a favored soul minus the umph)
noble (Tier 5=weak sauce bard without the spells)
paladin of freedom
paladin of slaughter
paladin of tyranny
psionic artificer (still can break WBL so probably still Tier 1, but I'm not too keen on artificer abuse. I might be missing something)
savage bard
shadowcaster
shugenja
sohei
soulborn
spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed)
thug
totem barbarian [UA kind]
totemist (4?)
urban adept (still tier 4)
urban ranger[/spoiler]

However, fair is fair - if the DM is willing to add spells, then I'd put the Wu Jen at (low) tier 1.
Yes it should be split depending on this.

Otherwise both spirit shaman and Wu Jen should be tier2 (high-ish)

I also think a generic Expert and Warrior should be both Tier 4, they get to choose from an OK list of class features, and can choose their good save(s) and class skills. Any particular build should be able to do one thing well or a few things adequately.
After checking the Generics, I'd say caster=2, expert=4, warrior=4

btw what is the "Rokugan Ninja"?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 22, 2009, 03:57:54 AM
btw what is the "Rokugan Ninja"?

http://l5r.alderac.com/archive/rpg/rokugan_ninja.pdf

It's a got 10d6 sneak attack and Full BAB, only has 2 other class features worth mentioning, Int to initiative and Con Mod * 5 to land speed. It's OK for dipping by a 'Daring Outlaw' Rogue/Swashbuckler does everything it does, but better.

Everyone listened to me this time. To my knowledge, here are most all the separate base classes we are missing. I lack quite a few from dragon mags (I know some of those other alignment paladins are actually not broken). Get cracking people!:

Some of these are just variants of other base classes whose rating won't change much or all.
Quote
[spoiler]
ardent - Tier 2 or Tier 3. Probably very low Tier 2 because of its small powers known but its friendly to dipping and has a good supply of PP.

bardic sage - Tier 3 as Bard. It lets a bard dump Cha but that doesn't really let it be better or worse than a stock bard.

battle sorcerer - Low, low, low Tier 2. Has a lot less versatility than many strong Tier 3 classes. If it wasn't for the fact it could break the game in a very limited number of ways it could even be Tier 4. Gets even worse if you multi-class heavily.

cloistered cleric (obviously still tier 1) - Yup

divine bard - Same as Bardic Sage, except your a dip away from DMM shenanigans.

divine mind (Somebody said tier 4 but I don't see it on the now reposted OP) - Tier 4 or maybe even Tier 5, they have a reputation for suck.

domain wizard (obviously still tier 1)

dragon shaman (first page had no consensus on 4...)
dragonfire adept (Hmm probably 4 also)

druidic avenger (obviously still tier 1) - Its loss of an animal companion hurts it, but probably not enough for a demotion.

eidolon - ?
eidoloncer - ?
incarnate - ?
lurk (Definately tier 5. I wish they could actually do something) - Agreed
mystic (Tier 2, one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a favored soul minus the umph) - I actually prefer these to Favoured Souls, if they can choose a good domain like Travel.

noble (Tier 5=weak sauce bard without the spells)

paladin of freedom
paladin of slaughter
paladin of tyranny - All 3 of these seem to be just carbon copies of the straight Paladin. The only difference is they get a looser code of conduct, but that's not worth much.

psionic artificer (still can break WBL so probably still Tier 1, but I'm not too keen on artificer abuse. I might be missing something)

savage bard - Tier 3 as above.

shadowcaster -?
shugenja - Tier 3, it a less successful Sorcerer, but should be able to work well besides a Beguiler or a Swordsage.
sohei - Tier 5 I think, it like a weaker Paladin.
soulborn- ?
spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed) - Agreed
thug - If this is the Fighter variant it's still Tier 5.
totem barbarian [UA kind] - Doesn't really change the game, Tier 4.
totemist (4?) - ?
urban adept (still tier 4)  - ?
urban ranger - Still the same, Tier 4
[/spoiler]
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on December 22, 2009, 04:20:10 AM
I'll do the wilder

Normal wilder: High tier 3, knows too few powers to truly be a gamebreaker and wild surge screws you enough without special precautions that you won't go past 2 on it. It does give you 3/4 BAB, 4 skill points/level with a good set of class skills, and will be excellent in the one or two areas you decide to focus on like blasting, save-or-dies, or gishing

Educated wilder: Tier 2, half a step below the psion. Trades a nigh-useless class ability volitial mind for the expanded knowledge feat at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17, partially addressing the wilder's biggest weakness.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 22, 2009, 08:24:41 AM
Battle Sorcerer is still Tier 2.  I just don't list variants of classes unless they're actually on a different tier, which is rare except for classes that are right on the edge anyway (like Fighters).  Cloistered Cleric is also still Tier 1.  Really, the differences aren't much... a Battle Sorcerer is generally weaker than a regular Sorcerer, but it can still do the same things (just fewer of them on any given build) and is better for certain gish builds.  Cloistered Cleric loses stuff that doesn't matter (BAB, which it can get back with Divine Power, plus some armor and hitpoints) but gains stuff that I think is better (many more skills, a few more spells) but isn't enough to be that significant in the long run.

Likewise, Bardic Sage and Divine Bard are pretty much the same as Bard.

So yeah, you can pretty much consider any variant that's not listed as being the same place as the main class, except in a few cases where I noted otherwise or in a few possible cases where I just forgot something.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 22, 2009, 09:53:12 AM
http://l5r.alderac.com/archive/rpg/rokugan_ninja.pdf

It's a got 10d6 sneak attack and Full BAB, only has 2 other class features worth mentioning, Int to initiative and Con Mod * 5 to land speed. It's OK for dipping by a 'Daring Outlaw' Rogue/Swashbuckler does everything it does, but better.
Okay, so its homebrew. I only use official stuff

Some of these are just variants of other base classes whose rating won't change much or all.
Yes I know. But if you notice I listed all the seperate base classes but not the substitution-based variants that are not seperate.

Oh and I forgot an oddball for you Jaron, spontaneous variant Cleric (technically a seperate class). Obviously Tier 2 :)

Not replicating mentioning the variants is fine, just asterisk each base class once per variant. That seems like an awesomely compact compromise (then just spoiler the bottom to list the variants if you want)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 22, 2009, 09:57:35 AM
Yes I know. But if you notice I listed all the seperate base classes but not the substitution-based variants that are not seperate.

I consider class variants to be the same class, generally, unless there's a massive difference.

Quote
Oh and I forgot an oddball for you Jaron, spontaneous variant Cleric (technically a seperate class). Obviously Tier 2 :)

Well, that's a good example of a massive difference... that's basically a lame Favored Soul IIRC.

Quote
Not replicating mentioning the variants is fine, just asterisk each base class once per variant. That seems like an awesomely compact compromise (then just spoiler the bottom to list the variants if you want)

Hmm, good point.  I should get back to that just so people know what's been considered.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 22, 2009, 10:45:30 AM
You've got the Wildshape Ranger down, but not the Mystic Ranger. And quite frankly, this is the one that really makes the ranger interesting, the WS Ranger is only good for entering PrCs. That being said I think it's high 4/low 3, something like that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 22, 2009, 03:04:00 PM
You've got the Wildshape Ranger down, but not the Mystic Ranger. And quite frankly, this is the one that really makes the ranger interesting, the WS Ranger is only good for entering PrCs. That being said I think it's high 4/low 3, something like that.

Yeah, I just have to look Mystic Ranger over, something I haven't done yet.

WS Ranger is in T3 because of how much extra flexibility it gains over the standard Ranger.  It's perfectly fine even without PrCing... it's just weak compared to the Druid (but that's not surprising).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 22, 2009, 03:31:49 PM
I was talking about the Mystic Ranger....

I'm not sure I would put it in Tier 3, because the spells it has are not really comparable to Full casting, but then, you can combine it with the WS variant :), at which point I do think it's Tier 3.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 22, 2009, 06:17:18 PM
Let's look at Mystic Ranger (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19872054/Alternative_Class_Features_III?post_id=338428258#338428258)

Hmm, was there a practiced wildshaper feat that would counteract the Mystic Wildshape Ranger's delayed by one level wildshape?

The odd progression (highest level spells by level 10) makes it favorable for a prestige class that gets a hit to it's casting progression (MoMF). I take it WSMR qualifys for Sword of the Arcane Order, so that's 5th level wizard spells (!) roughly when Wizards get them (YES! Oh god yes). With SotAO I'd lean to WSMR a low tier 2 (How many game breaking things can be done with EVERY fifth level wizard spell known and good combat abilities? You are basically a druid with wizard spells and one less fighter as a class feature). Without it, I'd make it high tier 3 (Basicly a bard with much better combat abilitys and quicker access to spells).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Eepop on December 22, 2009, 06:38:34 PM
A lot of people assign Spirit Shaman to Tier 1, having played one I don't understand why. Druid spells are nice, sure and the Spirit Shaman gets nine levels of them. But their daily allotment of spells known is HORRIBLE in play, literally the least fun I've ever had with a character.

I think its really that Spirit Shaman is pretty much between Tier 1 and Tier 2.  I played one, and I would rank it as tier 1, although some of that is that the DM allowed me to use the "Spirit turning" attempts to power divine feats as if they were undead turning.  I didn't use DMM cheese, but just turning on the other feat options put it solidly in Tier 1.

I would err on the side of caution and put it in Tier 1. But really for a lot of groups the divide between Tier 1 and Tier 2 is pretty narrow. As JaronK said in the OP, Tier 2 classes still have 10 nuclear weapons. Putting it in Tier 1 or Tier 2 is probably fine, as most people are likely to treat those tiers similarly (in terms of bannings, house rule modifications, etc).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 22, 2009, 11:21:29 PM
I checked that link, but didn't actually see the Mystic Ranger among the listed substitutions.  I also don't have that dragon magazine.  Hmm.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 23, 2009, 12:08:19 AM
Really? At the bottom on the main thread, under Dragon (I also linked to a post that first mentions it).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 23, 2009, 12:44:32 AM
Wow, that's weird, I went to a different place this time.

Anyway, it doesn't look that strong... obviously it's stronger early on due to that bizarre spell progression.  It doesn't seem to get any of the really powerful spells or anything, and of course never progresses beyond fifth level.  I don't know if it should count as T3 or not... it feels like it might be for the first 10 levels but not after that, which is always annoying.  Stupid designers making hard to classify classes.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on December 23, 2009, 01:20:19 AM
http://l5r.alderac.com/archive/rpg/rokugan_ninja.pdf

It's a got 10d6 sneak attack and Full BAB, only has 2 other class features worth mentioning, Int to initiative and Con Mod * 5 to land speed. It's OK for dipping by a 'Daring Outlaw' Rogue/Swashbuckler does everything it does, but better.
Okay, so its homebrew. I only use official stuff

Examine the link more carefully.  It isn't homebrew, it's L5R (Legend of the Five Rings).  AEG expanded the OA book into a more fully fleshed out setting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 23, 2009, 06:16:05 AM
Wow, that's weird, I went to a different place this time.

Anyway, it doesn't look that strong... obviously it's stronger early on due to that bizarre spell progression.  It doesn't seem to get any of the really powerful spells or anything, and of course never progresses beyond fifth level.  I don't know if it should count as T3 or not... it feels like it might be for the first 10 levels but not after that, which is always annoying.  Stupid designers making hard to classify classes.

JaronK

5th level Wizard spells one level behind Wizards and being much less squishy still seems like it can be broken clean in half.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on December 23, 2009, 06:17:47 AM
Wow, that's weird, I went to a different place this time.

Anyway, it doesn't look that strong... obviously it's stronger early on due to that bizarre spell progression.  It doesn't seem to get any of the really powerful spells or anything, and of course never progresses beyond fifth level.  I don't know if it should count as T3 or not... it feels like it might be for the first 10 levels but not after that, which is always annoying.  Stupid designers making hard to classify classes.

JaronK

5th level Wizard spells one level behind Wizards and being much less squishy still seems like it can be broken clean in half.
I thought we weren't talking about the battle sorcerer.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 23, 2009, 06:19:46 AM
5th level Wizard spells one level behind Wizards and being much less squishy still seems like it can be broken clean in half.

I wasn't aware the Mystic Ranger got any Wizard spells other than a very small number of specific ones (Baleful Polymorph and Awaken seem interesting, but that's about it).  Did I miss something?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: johnboy069 on December 23, 2009, 07:45:07 AM
5th level Wizard spells one level behind Wizards and being much less squishy still seems like it can be broken clean in half.

I wasn't aware the Mystic Ranger got any Wizard spells other than a very small number of specific ones (Baleful Polymorph and Awaken seem interesting, but that's about it).  Did I miss something?

JaronK

He is talking about using Sword of the Arcane Order to get the wizard spells. This combo, wirh WSMR is pretty decent as a daggerspell shaper, as it progresses wild shape and your spellcasting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 23, 2009, 10:44:04 AM
Yes I know. But if you notice I listed all the seperate base classes but not the substitution-based variants that are not seperate.

I consider class variants to be the same class, generally, unless there's a massive difference.
That's fine for you, but for everyone else there are specific (usually...) rules about which variant is seperate and which isn't (like racial subs)

Quote
Not replicating mentioning the variants is fine, just asterisk each base class once per variant. That seems like an awesomely compact compromise (then just spoiler the bottom to list the variants if you want)

Hmm, good point.  I should get back to that just so people know what's been considered.
Thanks I will personally enjoy when its implemented

I played one, and I would rank it as tier 1, although some of that is that the DM allowed me to use the "Spirit turning" attempts to power divine feats as if they were undead turning.
Ug that would do it. No the spirit turning IS NOT a turn undead ability so it can't fuel divine feats. This makes me think Tier 2. Don't get me wrong, I love the class but its just not tier 1 material.

Let's look at Mystic Ranger (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19872054/Alternative_Class_Features_III?post_id=338428258#338428258)

Hmm, was there a practiced wildshaper feat that would counteract the Mystic Wildshape Ranger's delayed by one level wildshape?

The odd progression (highest level spells by level 10) makes it favorable for a prestige class that gets a hit to it's casting progression (MoMF). I take it WSMR qualifys for Sword of the Arcane Order, so that's 5th level wizard spells (!) roughly when Wizards get them (YES! Oh god yes). With SotAO I'd lean to WSMR a low tier 2 (How many game breaking things can be done with EVERY fifth level wizard spell known and good combat abilities? You are basically a druid with wizard spells and one less fighter as a class feature). Without it, I'd make it high tier 3 (Basicly a bard with much better combat abilitys and quicker access to spells).
This is the tier after optimization. The rating should be before optimization. In an ECL10 1 shot campaign, this is good though. And no there is no feat that ensure the WS to work like you want but there are other ways (the chaining works without it).

Examine the link more carefully.  It isn't homebrew, it's L5R (Legend of the Five Rings).  AEG expanded the OA book into a more fully fleshed out setting.
So that makes it published homebrew? (aka 3rd party)

It doesn't seem to be in the official OA book. I'm confused why it is in the list.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 23, 2009, 12:35:05 PM
He is talking about using Sword of the Arcane Order to get the wizard spells. This combo, wirh WSMR is pretty decent as a daggerspell shaper, as it progresses wild shape and your spellcasting.

Ah, then that would be the PrC, not the base class.  I can't rank the classes with assumptions as to what PrCs you'll be using.  After all, Binder would be Tier 1 if I assumed you were always going into Anima Mage, and the Spellthief would be much higher if I assumed you were going into Shadowcraft Mage.  People will simply have to notice if the base class is being significantly improved by a PrC... they're ranked without considering PrCs much.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on December 23, 2009, 03:59:43 PM
He is talking about using Sword of the Arcane Order to get the wizard spells. This combo, wirh WSMR is pretty decent as a daggerspell shaper, as it progresses wild shape and your spellcasting.

Ah, then that would be the PrC, not the base class.  I can't rank the classes with assumptions as to what PrCs you'll be using.  After all, Binder would be Tier 1 if I assumed you were always going into Anima Mage, and the Spellthief would be much higher if I assumed you were going into Shadowcraft Mage.  People will simply have to notice if the base class is being significantly improved by a PrC... they're ranked without considering PrCs much.

JaronK
It's a feat, not a PrC.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 23, 2009, 06:34:27 PM
Yeah, SoTAO pretty much makes the MWSR a low tier 2 over a tier 3.

Now, what tier is the Gleaner (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/gk7uKJeF296jRcx1NJw.html) (homebrew, created by first party author)? It gets spontainous casting (better when it has few good spells anyways) and has class features compared to an adept, but lacks any of it's good spells. The best spells it seems to get are control weather (2 spell levels early, 5 class levels late) fog cloud (2 class levels late) a pesdo animal companion (nothing says it can't also a Wild Cohort), Soften Earth and Stone (can stop charges) Soothe the Thirsty Soil (useful if you want to... rain on someones parade or are expecting flyers with 2 castings, but it hurts your side just as much, high casting time low duration also bad)

Blessed beast+wild cohort isn't QUITE a fighter as a class feature, but better than a warrior.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 24, 2009, 12:35:35 AM
It's a feat, not a PrC.

Ah, I don't have Champions of Valor so I didn't know about that one.  God, that makes it all very confusing... a single feat makes the class far stronger, but only for the first 10 levels, after which point it rapidly drops away in power.  This sounds like a very hard class to rank.  If you don't take the feat, It's T3-4, if you do it's basically T1 for 10 levels and then drops back down to T3 later on.  That's really annoying.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 24, 2009, 05:13:29 AM
Not all the way back to where it is without SoTAO, even after 10 level 5 wizard spells are still nukes, just lower yield ones.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 24, 2009, 10:54:42 AM
True enough.  I mean you've still got Animate Dead, Shrink Item, Alter Self, and a host of others.  But those pale in comparison to the T1s and the T2s once they start getting up there in levels.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 24, 2009, 04:51:07 PM
How is alter self good when you have wild shape as a class feature?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on December 24, 2009, 05:06:23 PM
How is alter self good when you have wild shape as a class feature?
Because WS is into animals and AS is into creatures of your type. (Like Humanoid or, I don't know, Outsider.)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on December 24, 2009, 05:52:06 PM
How is alter self good when you have wild shape as a class feature?
Consider how useful it would be for, say, a warforged. As a construct, you can gain bonus feats, additional movement modes, and special attacks as an astral construct.

Also good to conserve wildshape uses if you expect to have to change form a bunch for difficult or utility encounters (or if you've already used them up for the day for those same encounters).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 25, 2009, 12:08:03 AM
How is alter self good when you have wild shape as a class feature?

An outsider WS Ranger could use Alter Self to turn into a Dwarf Ancestor for +15 Natural AC, for one thing.  WS won't get you there, at least not that that level.  There are a number of other really nice forms you could get that WS won't get you for a while.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on December 25, 2009, 07:17:08 AM
You can also overlap wild shape with alter self, without ruining the duration of one or the other. You're still humanoid (or construct, or outsider, or whatever), but shaped like an animal for 1 hour/lvl while wild shaped. If you find that you need hands, you cast alter self, which gets you a humanoid (or construct, or outsider, or whatever) form, which will give you whatever ability you need for a few minutes (and is dismissable). Keep in mind that you still have your animal stats (which don't change), so you could turn into a dire badger for the stats, then alter self into an astral construct or something, and still use weapons and items and stuff.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 30, 2009, 02:27:45 AM

[spoiler]
ardent - Tier 2 or Tier 3. Probably very low Tier 2 because of its small powers known but its friendly to dipping and has a good supply of PP.I third tier 2, tier 3 seems to low


cloistered cleric (obviously still tier 1) - YupHigher tier 1 than normal


dragon shaman (first page had no consensus on 4...) I would go 1 down from bard.
dragonfire adept (Hmm probably 4 also) It should be the same as warlock


incarnate - Tier 3 decently versatile, can spontaneously swap out known things. Might be a high tier 4

shadowcaster - Tier 3, like a sorcerer but less.

soulborn- About the same as a paladin sans mount, charisma to bonus saves, and gets bad bonus feats instead. 1 down from paladin would be appropriate.

spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed) - AgreedI would put this at low tier 1-high tier 2  


totemist (4?) - Tier 3, about the same as incarnate.


Wu jen should be about where a core wizard would be. It is a little bit weaker, but not by much. Glitterdust, Evards, contact other plane, and explosive runes are the major spells missing from the list.
[/spoiler]
The ability to swap out powers/choices goes a good way with my opinions of them
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 30, 2009, 03:22:12 AM
ardent - Tier 2 or Tier 3. Probably very low Tier 2 because of its small powers known but its friendly to dipping and has a good supply of PP.I third tier 2, tier 3 seems to low

One of these days I really have to go over psionics a bunch.  I've only very rarely had them in my game and only for short times, hence their poor representation in the system.

Quote
cloistered cleric (obviously still tier 1) - YupHigher tier 1 than normal

Well, it's the spells that make it powerful, so it's not that noticeable a difference.  But I certainly agree that it's T1, and that it's a touch stronger than the normal Cleric most of the time (though if not doing DMM then the BAB and armor decrease makes them worse in kick in the door style games occasionally.  Obviously, Knowledge Devotion really helps them out.

Quote
dragon shaman (first page had no consensus on 4...) I would go 1 down from bard.
dragonfire adept (Hmm probably 4 also) It should be the same as warlock

Also two classes I'm very unfamiliar with, but a lot of people seem to agree with these.

Quote
incarnate - Tier 3 decently versatile, can spontaneously swap out known things. Might be a high tier 4

shadowcaster - Tier 3, like a sorcerer but less.

soulborn- About the same as a paladin sans mount, charisma to bonus saves, and gets bad bonus feats instead. 1 down from paladin would be appropriate.

totemist (4?) - Tier 3, about the same as incarnate.

More classes I need to check out more, but your assessments sound reasonable.  Paladin is already T5 though, so Soulborn would probably be low T5... I doubt they're at the CW Samurai/Warrior level.

Quote
spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed) - AgreedI would put this at low tier 1-high tier 2  

Considering their spell list, I'm quite sure they're in the 1-2 range.  Still deciding on this.

Quote
Wu jen should be about where a core wizard would be. It is a little bit weaker, but not by much. Glitterdust, Evards, contact other plane, and explosive runes are the major spells missing from the list.

Yeah, with Wu Jen their general lack of super powered spells actually feels more T3 to me.  They're more versitile than Sorcerers but lack the raw power that requires DMs to adapt to them a lot.  But they might be T2, because they've still got stuff that hits quite hard, and if they get more spells from SpC that could have a serious effect.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 30, 2009, 07:29:16 AM
Paladin is already T5 though, so Soulborn would probably be low T5... I doubt they're at the CW Samurai/Warrior level.

Yeah, with Wu Jen their general lack of super powered spells actually feels more T3 to me.  They're more versitile than Sorcerers but lack the raw power that requires DMs to adapt to them a lot.  But they might be T2, because they've still got stuff that hits quite hard, and if they get more spells from SpC that could have a serious effect.
Yup on T3 Wu Jen, and T6/T5 Soulborn. Honestly who plays a soulborn?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 30, 2009, 08:07:11 AM
So for WSMR tier 1 for 2-10 (you are a druid with wizard spells and one less fighter, though your remaining one is better) and low tier 2 for 10-20 with SoTAA (You can still play god, just a less powerful god) and higher tier 3 without SoTAA?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 30, 2009, 05:17:29 PM

shadowcaster - Tier 3, like a sorcerer but less.


Ugh.... The shadowcaster should be like Tier 7. Not for being absolutely weak, but for being a horrible horrible class.


Sorry, but that's just me. I can't help myself. It should be called Shuddercaster... ew.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 30, 2009, 07:15:00 PM

shadowcaster - Tier 3, like a sorcerer but less.


Ugh.... The shadowcaster should be like Tier 7. Not for being absolutely weak, but for being a horrible horrible class.


Sorry, but that's just me. I can't help myself. It should be called Shuddercaster... ew.
Its still a level 9 caster though. It also gets decent spells, but not broken ones like sorcerer or as a many as sorcerer. Some of the spells are more powerful as well. Its shadow evocation spells emulate up to equal level spells.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 30, 2009, 07:15:55 PM
Paladin is already T5 though, so Soulborn would probably be low T5... I doubt they're at the CW Samurai/Warrior level.
I  forgot that paladin was tier 5. Low tier 5 would be appropriate then.

Quote
Yeah, with Wu Jen their general lack of super powered spells actually feels more T3 to me.  They're more versitile than Sorcerers but lack the raw power that requires DMs to adapt to them a lot. 


They are missing some spells, but on the super powered list, I can only think of explosive runes. They still got the alterself line, spirit binding is fairly analogous to planar binding, they get gate, limited wish, wish,  rope trick, and a good chunk of other stuff. I may be devaluing certain spells in my judgment. What important spells do you feel they are missing.
Quote
But they might be T2, because they've still got stuff that hits quite hard, and if they get more spells from SpC that could have a serious effect.
I can't see them being lower than two. there list is pretty solid, and they can easily get more spells onto there list as a prepared arcane caster with a book. Like I said, point out the major spells that they are missing and we can compare to a sorcerer and see if its much lower than that

Quote
Yup on T3 Wu Jen,
I need a very good list of what spells the wu jen lacks for me to agree to T3. I can easily see tier 2, because CoreWizard is still tier 1, and CoreSorcerer is still tier 2, and I don't think they fall 2-1 tiers from them.

and
Quote
T6/T5 Soulborn. Honestly who plays a soulborn?
One issue I have is that soulborns may have a good level of versitility, so they might be tier 4. I just discount them heavily due to the other incarnum classes.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 30, 2009, 10:59:23 PM
One issue I have is that soulborns may have a good level of versitility, so they might be tier 4. I just discount them heavily due to the other incarnum classes.
Um what? I love the totemist... but I feel no love for the soulborns. It's like a wimpy pally
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: sonofzeal on December 31, 2009, 12:21:09 AM
One issue I have is that soulborns may have a good level of versitility, so they might be tier 4. I just discount them heavily due to the other incarnum classes.
Um what? I love the totemist... but I feel no love for the soulborns. It's like a wimpy pally
I was under the impression that, while Soulborns are wimpy by Incarnum standards (which aren't all that heavy hitters themselves), they're still basically on par with SotAO-less Paladins.  The only major flaw compared to their core kin is lack of splat support, and that they don't really get enough incarnum to do too much interesting.  They're well below Incarnate, but not really down in Divine Mind or Samurai territory by my understanding.  That said, I've never actually played one, so take this with a grain of salt.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: KellKheraptis on December 31, 2009, 12:25:52 AM
So for WSMR tier 1 for 2-10 (you are a druid with wizard spells and one less fighter, though your remaining one is better) and low tier 2 for 10-20 with SoTAA (You can still play god, just a less powerful god) and higher tier 3 without SoTAA?

High Tier 2/Low Tier 1 with Touchstone tech, as if you're willing to devote the feats to it, you can get 9th level slots and fill them with Wizard spells.  You won't be an Incantatrix by any means, but you can hide in plain sight while dropping 9th level arcanes.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 31, 2009, 12:35:38 AM
On the Wu Jen, I honestly haven't reviewed their list enough to say for sure whether they're T2 or 3.  They don't have enough options to be T1, so it's just a question of whether a DM would have to seriously alter a campaign (either in rules, agreements, or plot) to keep them from blowing things out a bit, or not.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: dark_samuari on December 31, 2009, 12:48:29 AM
I'd say Wu Jen is about on par with a Tier 2 spellcaster, even more so if the gm is in any way lenient in letting the player add spells to the spell list (as they should).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 31, 2009, 02:53:15 AM
On the Wu Jen, I honestly haven't reviewed their list enough to say for sure whether they're T2 or 3.  They don't have enough options to be T1, so it's just a question of whether a DM would have to seriously alter a campaign (either in rules, agreements, or plot) to keep them from blowing things out a bit, or not.

JaronK
I'll make a list of important spells that Wu Jen have of each level, and a list of important spells that they seem to be missing off of a core wizards list, if I miss anything feel free to point out what I missed.

Level 1 Disquise self, Charm Person, Animate Rope, Protection from Good/Etc, Shield, Scales of the Lizard, Secret Signs, Comprehend Languages, Sleep, Summon Monster 1-IX, Ventrilquism, Silent Image.
Missing Spells Color Spray, Cause Fear, Ray of Enfeeblement.
Level 2 Alterself, Invisibility, Fog Cloud, Protection From Arrows, See Invisibility, Rope Trick, Detect Thoughts, Misdirection, Knock, Arcane Lock
Missing- Spells Glitter Dust, Summon Swarm, Web, Command Undead, Specteral Hand
Level 3 Greater Magic Weapon, Keen Edge, Water Breathing, Stinking Cloud, Gaseous Form, Dispel Magic, Haste, Remove Curse , Suggestion, Tongues
Missing -Spells Explosive Runes, Ray of Exhaustion, Vampiric Touch, Wind Wall, Clairvouyance.
Level 4 Solid Fog, Ice Storm, Scrying, Dimension Door, Polymorph, Greater Invisibility, Animate Dead, Dismissal, Charm Monster, Locate Creature, Minor Creation
Missing- Shadow Conjuration, Arcane Eye, Hallucinatory Terrain, Black Tentacles, Secure Shelter, Dimensional Anchor
Level 5- Fabricate, Dominate Person, Baleful Polymorph, Telekinesis, Summon  Wind, Passwall,  Wall of Force, Major Creation, Teleport
Missing- False Vision, Magic jar, contact other plane, Transmute Rock to Mud
Level 6 Flesh to Stone, Control Weather, Control Water, Speak with Dead ,Spirit Binding, Move Earth, True Seeing, Veil.
Missing -Guards and Wards, Analyze Dweomer, Legend lore, Mislead, Circle of Death.
Level 7 Scrying, Greater, Body Outside of Body, Energy Immunity, limited wish, Reanimation, Power Word Blind, Ethereal Jaunt.
Missing- Simulcrum, G Shad. Conjuration, Reverse Gravity, Project Image, Forcecage, Mage's Mansion
Level 8 MindBlank Polymorph any Object, Find the center, Whirlwind, Sympathy-This is a pretty dud spell level
Missing Dimensional, Maze, Trap the Soul, Moment of Prescience, Screen, Charm Monster Mass, Clone
Level 9- Astral Projection, Freedom, Dominate Monster, Shape Change, Gate, Timestop,
 Mssing-Missing Disjuction, Refuge, Foresight, Shades, Weird, Wail of the Banshee.


Wu Jen is Missing more than I want it to be, and while it can Scry and Die, it can't defend itself from it like the wizard can, its lacking in Necromancy, Divination, and area illusions outside of the silent-persistant image line, nightime base spells, and outsider removal.  Missing Explosive Runes on the broken spell front. I have to say tier 2, it can't play rocket tag like the wizard can. It still gets enough breadth of spells that it isn't going to fall much behind a core sorcerer.

As for adding spells to its spell list the Spell Compendium says "Add spells with element (except air), wood, and metal themes." pg 4.

One issue I have is that soulborns may have a good level of versitility, so they might be tier 4. I just discount them heavily due to the other incarnum classes.
Um what? I love the totemist... but I feel no love for the soulborns. It's like a wimpy pally
The other incarnum classes blow soulborn out of the water. If your going to test out a new system your not going to play a class that barely touches that system is what I meant. But I'm going to take a close look at soulborn and see what it can do.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: HCL on December 31, 2009, 04:01:14 AM
There are some good soulborn soulmelds, but they don't have enough soulmeld or essentia progression to really do anything with it
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 31, 2009, 04:23:48 AM
So for WSMR tier 1 for 2-10 (you are a druid with wizard spells and one less fighter, though your remaining one is better) and low tier 2 for 10-20 with SoTAA (You can still play god, just a less powerful god) and higher tier 3 without SoTAA?

High Tier 2/Low Tier 1 with Touchstone tech, as if you're willing to devote the feats to it, you can get 9th level slots and fill them with Wizard spells.  You won't be an Incantatrix by any means, but you can hide in plain sight while dropping 9th level arcanes.

Touchstone tech?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: KellKheraptis on December 31, 2009, 04:55:03 AM
So for WSMR tier 1 for 2-10 (you are a druid with wizard spells and one less fighter, though your remaining one is better) and low tier 2 for 10-20 with SoTAA (You can still play god, just a less powerful god) and higher tier 3 without SoTAA?

High Tier 2/Low Tier 1 with Touchstone tech, as if you're willing to devote the feats to it, you can get 9th level slots and fill them with Wizard spells.  You won't be an Incantatrix by any means, but you can hide in plain sight while dropping 9th level arcanes.

Touchstone tech?

Feat : Planar Touchstone (Catalogues of Enlightenment).  Pick up a miracle from Luck domain.  Sanctum Spell allows this to count as a 10th level spell, meaning you then take Extra Slot 4 more times to fill in the gaps.  You'll be filling those with Wizard spells, as the ranger, even the mystic ranger, list only goes up to 5th.  This is the same trick DavidWL uses on his Chameleons.  This is also one of the few 20 BAB/20 CL gishes that gets 9th level arcane spells (arcane and divine converted to arcane with ToAL abuse).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: deuxhero on December 31, 2009, 07:31:17 AM
Any place with more detail?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 31, 2009, 08:11:36 AM
There are some good soulborn soulmelds, but they don't have enough soulmeld or essentia progression to really do anything with it
With an Azurin, I was thinking at third level the pick up Shape Soulmeld: Incarnate Avatar, which goes a good way power wise due to the Soulborn's alignment. LE gets +1/+2 attack and damage per point of essentia invested. At fourth grab lucky dice, at this level you should have two essentia. One from Race, and another from your bonus feat. So one into Incarnate avatar, and one into lucky dice.  This should leave it with +2/+3 and +1 to all saves. So it should run pretty close to a barbarian.
Level 6 the bonus should increase to +3/+5, at level 7 he can get a +1 dodge bonus to AC, next level he gets levelx10 in dimension door usage a day and water walking. Or immunity to charm effects,  punch people with a +6 to damage and +6 to strength checks, or animate a zombie. Which is apparently its analog to the paladins mount feature now that I think about it. So its going to pick up the zombie to keep up. Which is horribly limited by having a half meldshaper level.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 31, 2009, 08:48:54 AM
I'm not sure Wu Jen hits Tier 2.  It's not about comparing to a Core Sorcerer, btw, but rather to equal books (since in any given game the PCs will almost always have the same books available, and this system is more about comparative power than anything else).  So, it should really be a Wu Jen with at least Core and some Completes vs a Sorcerer with the same.

Anyway, I'm noticing a lack of a lot of the big power spells.  The lack of Grease, Nerveskitter, and Colorspray at level one really hurt.  Glitterdust and Web at two hurt as well.  This continues through the levels.  I'd say a Sorcerer could easily have much more powerful spells at any level, but less overall flexibility (especially since the Wu Jen does get Alter Self and the like).  The Wu Jen feels like a more balanced class generally.  Again, access to SpC spells would seriously change this, but less raw power and a bit more flexibility is more of a T3 thing than a T2.  When looking for game changing power, I'm seeing the Polymorph line, Gate, Fabricate, and little else.  Compared to Sorcerers that can raise armies of the dead, Planar Bind for all kinds of flexibility in their power, and so on... it just doesn't feel the same.

Remember of course that T3 means versitile, powerful, but not game shattering.  That seems to be what's going on here (unless you go into SCM or something, but that's the PrC talking).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: KellKheraptis on December 31, 2009, 09:44:09 AM
JaronK, am I close with my Mystic Ranger guess then, assuming Touchstone technology?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 31, 2009, 12:19:17 PM
JaronK, am I close with my Mystic Ranger guess then, assuming Touchstone technology?

Probably, but I'm not sure I like relying on touchstones.  After all, IIRC the touchstone has to exist in the campaign world to use it, and in many games it may not be available, so I probably won't rank any classes under the assumption that you could use one.  Meanwhile, the 10th level Miracle trick just doesn't sound like something that's going to fly most of the time.  I think that would come in as heavy optimization at the very least.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: KellKheraptis on December 31, 2009, 12:23:28 PM
JaronK, am I close with my Mystic Ranger guess then, assuming Touchstone technology?

Probably, but I'm not sure I like relying on touchstones.  After all, IIRC the touchstone has to exist in the campaign world to use it, and in many games it may not be available, so I probably won't rank any classes under the assumption that you could use one.  Meanwhile, the 10th level Miracle trick just doesn't sound like something that's going to fly most of the time.  I think that would come in as heavy optimization at the very least.

JaronK

Duly noted and fully acceptable.  Hell, if you're going that far, might as well PsyRef away the freebie weapon profs as an elf and pick up Otherworldly to get more back for one feat and 4 freebies :P
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 31, 2009, 03:28:34 PM
I'm not sure Wu Jen hits Tier 2.  It's not about comparing to a Core Sorcerer, btw, but rather to equal books (since in any given game the PCs will almost always have the same books available, and this system is more about comparative power than anything else).  So, it should really be a Wu Jen with at least Core and some Completes vs a Sorcerer with the same.
I am aware that an actual Sorcerer would have what ever sources available. but from my understanding a hypothetical class that is amounts to a  Sorcerer who's  spell list has never been expanded outside of core, is still going to be tier 2 even if every book is available.
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Anyway, I'm noticing a lack of a lot of the big power spells.  The lack of Grease, Nerveskitter, and Colorspray at level one really hurt. Glitterdust and Web at two hurt as well.  This continues through the levels.

It can do two way communication with a creature with an unknown language at level 1, which is something that can cause a DM headaches more than Nerveskitter or Grease ever could.
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  I'd say a Sorcerer could easily have much more powerful spells at any level, but less overall flexibility (especially since the Wu Jen does get Alter Self and the like).  The Wu Jen feels like a more balanced class generally.  Again, access to SpC spells would seriously change this, but less raw power and a bit more flexibility is more of a T3 thing than a T2. 
I feel the Wujen had powerful spells on every level that the sorcerer is going to have 1 or two more per level at best.
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 When looking for game changing power, I'm seeing the Polymorph line, Gate, Fabricate, and little else.  Compared to Sorcerers that can raise armies of the dead, Planar Bind for all kinds of flexibility in their power, and so on... it just doesn't feel the same.
Wu Jen has Animate Dead and Spirit Binding(Like Planar Binding but with incorporeal undead, Fey, and Elementals, and people in Astral Form).

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Remember of course that T3 means versitile, powerful, but not game shattering.  That seems to be what's going on here (unless you go into SCM or something, but that's the PrC talking).

JaronK
I consider Alterself, Animate Dead and Polymorph Any Object, Gate( You said that at 17th+ a Healer functions at tier 2  because of this spell),  to be pretty game breaking. Its also getting its spells a level before the sorcerer.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on December 31, 2009, 10:26:29 PM
Regarding the Wu Jen the SpC has to say:

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...
The advice below should help you decide how to adopt spells for your character.
...
Wu Jen (Complete Arcane): Add spells with element (except air), wood, and metal themes.

Since the advice is pretty unequivocal, I'd say you could automatically expect to be able to add any spells in the SpC with an Element, Wood or Metal descriptor to the Wu Jen's spell list. Is Wood a descriptor, I know Plant is. If a certain spell lacks that descriptor it becomes a matter of judgement, which falls outside the purview of RAW.

Even if we give the Wu Jen every spell with an element, excepting air, wood and metal descriptor is their enough 'OOMPH' there for Tier 1, since most of those spells, excepting Plant/Wood sound like direct damage to me.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 01, 2010, 12:03:13 AM
I am aware that an actual Sorcerer would have what ever sources available. but from my understanding a hypothetical class that is amounts to a  Sorcerer who's  spell list has never been expanded outside of core, is still going to be tier 2 even if every book is available.

True enough.  But this is mostly because the strongest Sorcerer spells are generally in core anyway (with a few exceptions like Wings of Flurry and Celerity).  Anyway, the point I was making is I'd like to shy away from saying "let's look at the core Sorcerer" and move more towards "let's just assume everyone has the same books."

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I feel the Wujen had powerful spells on every level that the sorcerer is going to have 1 or two more per level at best.

But the spells the Sorcerer has will be more powerful, and potentially far more so.  After all, by the time the Wu Jen came out the designers were starting to understand balance a lot more and were dropping more powerful spells (of course, they missed a few like Polymorph, so the Wu Jen is definitely in the running).

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Wu Jen has Animate Dead and Spirit Binding(Like Planar Binding but with incorporeal undead, Fey, and Elementals, and people in Astral Form).

I somehow missed Animate Dead on the list.  I haven't reviewed the fey and incorporeal undead enough to see if Spirit Binding will match up to what Planar Binding can do (stuff like Efrettis and Midguard Dwarfs and all that really change games).

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I consider Alterself, Animate Dead and Polymorph Any Object, Gate( You said that at 17th+ a Healer functions at tier 2  because of this spell),  to be pretty game breaking. Its also getting its spells a level before the sorcerer.

And the Wu Jen is definitely T2 when it hits level 17.  The question is whether it's there through the majority of play... remember that play at level 17+ is the rarest kind.  I weight the mid levels (6-15) a lot more than the highest levels, because those are played a lot more.  Now I have to say, the presence of Animate Dead, the entire Polymorph line, and a series of strong utility spells (like Fabricate and the like) definitely means they're in that region.  I think for most given levels it's likely that the Sorcerer will have a better spell, but on further review the Wu Jen definitely has some of the top contenders.  After all, a third level Wu Jen has Alter Self, and a Sorcerer likely won't have that till 5th (taking Glitterdust at 4). 

I need to think about this more.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Chaos josh on January 01, 2010, 02:27:10 AM
Wu Jen also gets a bit of support in Complete Mage with the "Heart of" spells. They also get a somewhat unique spell in Transcend Mortality (mainly to combine with Spellguard of Silverymoon's Spellguard attack to KO anything), though that's mostly the Prestige class.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 01, 2010, 07:29:09 AM
I am aware that an actual Sorcerer would have what ever sources available. but from my understanding a hypothetical class that is amounts to a  Sorcerer who's  spell list has never been expanded outside of core, is still going to be tier 2 even if every book is available.

True enough.  But this is mostly because the strongest Sorcerer spells are generally in core anyway (with a few exceptions like Wings of Flurry and Celerity).  Anyway, the point I was making is I'd like to shy away from saying "let's look at the core Sorcerer" and move more towards "let's just assume everyone has the same books."
Is there any spells in Complete Arcane, or the first 4 completes, that really matter in terms of power?

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I feel the Wujen had powerful spells on every level that the sorcerer is going to have 1 or two more per level at best.

But the spells the Sorcerer has will be more powerful, and potentially far more so.  After all, by the time the Wu Jen came out the designers were starting to understand balance a lot more and were dropping more powerful spells (of course, they missed a few like Polymorph, so the Wu Jen is definitely in the running).


I don't think they had a better sense of balance, it seems like they were just half assed the spell list, or had a page limit that had certain spells cut from the list. Four out of Five of its subgroups lack a 9th level spell.


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Wu Jen has Animate Dead and Spirit Binding(Like Planar Binding but with incorporeal undead, Fey, and Elementals, and people in Astral Form).

I somehow missed Animate Dead on the list.  I haven't reviewed the fey and incorporeal undead enough to see if Spirit Binding will match up to what Planar Binding can do (stuff like Efrettis and Midguard Dwarfs and all that really change games).


I don't think its going to be as powerful, but I think it is still going to be a decent option.

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I consider Alterself, Animate Dead and Polymorph Any Object, Gate( You said that at 17th+ a Healer functions at tier 2  because of this spell),  to be pretty game breaking. Its also getting its spells a level before the sorcerer.

And the Wu Jen is definitely T2 when it hits level 17.  The question is whether it's there through the majority of play... remember that play at level 17+ is the rarest kind.  I weight the mid levels (6-15) a lot more than the highest levels, because those are played a lot more.


I understand that. I was more referring to the presence of one highly powerful and versatile spell, and pretty much eff all else,  gained at the appropriate level,  being enough to bump a class to tier 2.
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Now I have to say, the presence of Animate Dead, the entire Polymorph line, and a series of strong utility spells (like Fabricate and the like) definitely means they're in that region.  I think for most given levels it's likely that the Sorcerer will have a better spell, but on further review the Wu Jen definitely has some of the top contenders.  After all, a third level Wu Jen has Alter Self, and a Sorcerer likely won't have that till 5th (taking Glitterdust at 4).  
I'm thinking the Wu Jen  is going to have the advantage on the odd levels power wise. Alterself at third, Stinking Cloud at fifth, Animate Dead at seventh.

Do you consider the Battle Sorcerer to still be tier 2?
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I need to think about this more.

JaronK
Understandable, there are a lot of things to consider.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 01, 2010, 11:47:21 AM
Is there any spells in Complete Arcane, or the first 4 completes, that really matter in terms of power?

Not really, but there's lots of PrCs, and while I don't count any specific PrC as being inhearent to the power of a class, I do consider what options are generally available to them.  Stuff like the fact that a Sorcerer could theoretically take Mage of the Arcane Order for more flexibility.  It's not a big factor though.

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I don't think they had a better sense of balance, it seems like they were just half assed the spell list, or had a page limit that had certain spells cut from the list. Four out of Five of its subgroups lack a 9th level spell.

Balance through laziness!  Hey, if it works it works.

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I understand that. I was more referring to the presence of one highly powerful and versatile spell, and pretty much eff all else,  gained at the appropriate level,  being enough to bump a class to tier 2.

It has to be very strong, but "I can get a Cleric whenever I want to by gating in a Solar" pretty much does it.  Spend some Exp when you need to have a 20th level Cleric is a pretty awesome ability that applies to everything, because you just got a Tier 1 class.

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Do you consider the Battle Sorcerer to still be tier 2?

Yeah.  Weaker than a Sorcerer, but it can do all the same stuff.  A nation with 9 nukes has less power than one with 10, but who cares?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 01, 2010, 04:24:11 PM
Is there any spells in Complete Arcane, or the first 4 completes, that really matter in terms of power?

Not really, but there's lots of PrCs, and while I don't count any specific PrC as being inhearent to the power of a class, I do consider what options are generally available to them.  Stuff like the fact that a Sorcerer could theoretically take Mage of the Arcane Order for more flexibility.  It's not a big factor though.
Didn't consider the prestige classes to be a factor. I suppose sorcerer specific ones and ones like MageotAO do put the advanage slightly to sorcerer in this regard.
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I don't think they had a better sense of balance, it seems like they were just half assed the spell list, or had a page limit that had certain spells cut from the list. Four out of Five of its subgroups lack a 9th level spell.

Balance through laziness!  Hey, if it works it works.
It explains the Truenamer, and Shadow Caster
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I understand that. I was more referring to the presence of one highly powerful and versatile spell, and pretty much eff all else,  gained at the appropriate level,  being enough to bump a class to tier 2.

It has to be very strong, but "I can get a Cleric whenever I want to by gating in a Solar" pretty much does it.  Spend some Exp when you need to have a 20th level Cleric is a pretty awesome ability that applies to everything, because you just got a Tier 1 class.
I was thinking Alterself when it had a duration above 60 minutes was on the same relative level of power, due to its access of spells that it gives.
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Do you consider the Battle Sorcerer to still be tier 2?

Yeah.  Weaker than a Sorcerer, but it can do all the same stuff.  A nation with 9 nukes has less power than one with 10, but who cares?
The Wu Jen looks better compared to a B. Sorcerer than it does a normal one. It wouldn't pick up Alterself until the Wu Jen had 4th level spells.


Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on January 28, 2010, 03:27:35 AM
Over the past couple days I've been thinking about the concept of team play. I don't know how much this directly relates to tiers, but, whatever.

Does anyone else feel a lack of teamwork in there games? I tend to play at the Tier 2 or 3 level, depending on the DM, and I never feel like I'm a part of a team. I don't feel like a part of the puzzle that completes it. My fellow players have noticed this too. It's like, we're all optimized to be able to handle situations by ourselves, so in gameplay, that's what we do. We all roll initiative together, maybe throw someone a flank or a ressurection, but other then that we just ignore each other in combat. Because it's stronger!

As a player, it is easier to make a tier 2/3 character then ignore everyone else. Working as a team isn't worth it.

Do you think lower tier play would fix that? If we're all tier 4/5 would we feel the need to depend on each other?

(this is giving me ideas for houserules though. Has anyone ever seen a rework of 'Team Benefits'? I'd love to see those expanded on and made much stronger.)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: RobbyPants on January 28, 2010, 04:13:56 AM
Over the past couple days I've been thinking about the concept of team play. I don't know how much this directly relates to tiers, but, whatever.

Does anyone else feel a lack of teamwork in there games?
It depends on the group.  I've seen groups that were pretty much a bunch of individuals, often competing for glory and bragging rights. 

I've played in a two person group running a wizard with the other guy as a hexblade.  At low levels, it worked really well.  I tried not to overshadow him, and he'd debuff guys and then I'd take them out of the fight.  He'd clean up the rest with a bit of help from me.  As I got to higher levels, it became pretty much impossible not to run the entire fight myself.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on January 28, 2010, 04:26:27 AM
Even tier 1's and tier 2's can be great team players and make things fun for everyone. For example a wizard or cleric can buff his teammates and let them get the kills, even a simple haste or enlarge person will make the party fighter feel more powerful and not a waste of space.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 28, 2010, 12:14:56 PM
Does anyone else feel a lack of teamwork in there games? I tend to play at the Tier 2 or 3 level, depending on the DM, and I never feel like I'm a part of a team. I don't feel like a part of the puzzle that completes it. My fellow players have noticed this too. It's like, we're all optimized to be able to handle situations by ourselves, so in gameplay, that's what we do. We all roll initiative together, maybe throw someone a flank or a ressurection, but other then that we just ignore each other in combat. Because it's stronger!

Tier 2 + don't really need the team, though it's handy to have one (especially for the 2s).  Tier 5- really need a team, and may not have abilities necessary to actually help other team members (they can do their job, but they can't help others most of the time).  So, T5 will enforce some degree of teamwork if the DM doesn't go easy on them, but T1s are better at actually actively helping team members.

Still, teamwork is a character choice.  T1s can do anything, including be great team players... a DMM Cleric persisting Righteous Wrath of the Faithful, Recitation, and Vigorous Circle, for example.  And T5s can be built for team play if you're creative.

You might consider intentionally making synergistic or team based characters.  Warblades and Crusaders are great at this if they specialize in White Raven manuevers, but you can also do things like have an Unseelie Fey Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade lowering the saves of enemies while a Zhentarium Fighter/Dread Pirate hits them with fear pulses and an AoE based caster finishes them off with their drastically lowered saves, for example.  We actually had a party that was Ninja (Homebrewed, basically a sudden striking Swordsage), Dread Necromancer, Beguiler, Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade, and used a similar tactic... the tank got their saves down, the Dread Necromancer would use Fear Aura, the Beguiler would then drop a Glitterdust, and the Ninja would Sudden Strike them to death.  It was very effective and fun for a time.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on January 28, 2010, 05:39:58 PM
The trouble is, I think, that Teamwork is only ever made easy for spellcasters: It costs little focus to cast a buff spell, or a debuff. It encourages pre-battle teamplay, but in battle? A great teamplay spell, for instance, is Bigby's Slapping Hand. Arrange your fighters and sneak-attackers around the guy and then have him provoke. But who takes that? And prepares it? The trouble is that there are usually better spells on many levels, which give a direct benefit, and don't really rely on who or what is fighting with you, just someone who makes the guy dead eventually.

Non-casters basically have to rely on being buffed, and otherwise have to be content with being "the wall", or the BSF. However, even non-casters together COULD benefit a lot from teamwork, but most builds favour egocentricity. If taking team feats lowers your damage output or your self-reliance, then they hardly seem worth it.

There should be more feats that give direct combat benefits to teamwork, while not reducing individual combat power too much. And they should be more straightforward, perhaps, and not require too much in terms of combo-strategies.

Now I have to say in groups I play it's really not as bad as bearsarebrown says. However, there is USUALLY a critical lack of tactical communication ahead of any fight. Basically players don't plan much for battle in D&D, nor in most other games I've played, except perhaps SR, and then only on a larger scale. Strategic tactical combat, i.e. optimised for maximum total output, instead of maximum personal output, is not that common.

I think WotC did a good thing with Crusaders, since a crusader can give a lot to a party when played smartly, however, I sometimes feel that Crusaders in turn give up a lot of offensive focus. They have to concentrate on single-attack maneuvers, and for all dippability their healing-mechanic doesn't scale too well, and you can be randomly fucked by drawing the wrong maneuevers. Also, in order to bring their BFC effects to bear they need to put extensive efforts into extending their reach, which is not facilitated by the class itself.

Also, the direct rule effects even of tackling an opponent in pairs or groups aren't that great - I guess intentionally, because PCs in D&D should often face groups of weaker foes. In other games, facing a group often means near-certain demise, even if the opponents are weaker. This loses a lot of heroic feel, I guess, but does make teamplay immediately more attractive. For instance, if flanking benefits were to increase per teammate fighting the same enemy, then that would encourage sticking together. As it is, you need at least two feats to even get a flanking bonus when you're just fighting (and not really flanking) the same enemy, and that's only a +2, unless you have a sneak-attacker.

And I do have to say: All my examples are still really from lower tiers. While you can make a point of playing a GOD wizard, you're still not really being a team-player, you're just pretending to be one. (You COULD, with just a reduction of pace, also do everything by yourself.) As a Wizard, you might as well spell it t11m :). Druids make decent team players - by themselves. Sorcs occasionally need support. The Tier3 casters actually do make decent team-players, because they usually lack one element of the all-encompassing tactic - DNs need logistics and Beguilers need damage output.

I think some problem lies in the fact that it's actually pretty hard to make up diverse team tactics. Stacking debuffs and then hitting them with an SOD is a good and effective tactic, except, if that's what you do every time then it can get old, too. Also, no DM around me will let you get away with it for more than a few times, they'll start optimising against your tactic, which IMHO shouldn't really happen. So you really need different ways to act as a team which do not a allow the DM to completely shut down your tactic by taking out a key step. (For instance, by using Undead. Or whatever.)

So really, the problem lies in the fact that, while D&D was originally designed as a cooperative game, where no one could shine alone, it's really the case that the designers messed up this aspect pretty well, which forces players to intentionally seek out this component.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on January 28, 2010, 07:50:48 PM
So really, the problem lies in the fact that, while D&D was originally designed as a cooperative game, where no one could shine alone, it's really the case that the designers messed up this aspect pretty well, which forces players to intentionally seek out this component.

This is what I was fearing. I couldn't tell if it was just my group or the system.

@JaronK, although the save dropping -> Glitterdust is fun, Brainpiercing is right. Not only does it get repetitive but most DMs won't fall for that trick repeatedly.

Crusaders are pretty some of the best for team play, no doubt about that. Bards /w Marshall dips can worked like that too, but the optimized ones aren't. Maybe it's just a case of us picking especially solo classes, like Rangers/Full Casters/Psions. I don't know about you guys, but I think a rewrite/powerup of the Team Benefits system would force players to develop characters together, which, in turn, would lead to characters designed to work with each other.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Hallack on January 28, 2010, 08:27:23 PM
I think the only way to really be able to 'fix' this within 3.5 is to actually have a group that is wanting deliberate strategic and tactical team play of that sort.  Without everyone wanting that sort of play it will tend to break back down into more individual style I think if only due to those wanting to team play finally giving up (or just going for the illusion of team play with GOD as mentioned above.

Other systems get the team play better and in fact my experiences with 4E are that it really mechanically encourages team play.  (Not to start a 4e discussion).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: DavidWL on January 28, 2010, 08:36:42 PM
I think the only way to really be able to 'fix' this within 3.5 is to actually have a group that is wanting deliberate strategic and tactical team play of that sort.

I agree.

Team Play Example:
- GOD number 1 is a summoner
- GOD number 2 is a buffer, who buffs the summons
- GOD number 3 is battlefield control / debuffer who weakens the enemies.

;)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Growin on March 08, 2010, 09:45:18 PM
Races of Ansalon has a base class called the Nightstalker.  Anyone want to postulate what tier this base class would fall under?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Surreal on April 27, 2010, 12:17:40 AM
So where would you guys place the ardent? It feels like a low 2 or high 3 to me, although with dominant ideal and substitute powers that brings it easily into 2 or possible a low tier 1 when you consider the easy recharge and breaking the action economy.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: DavidWL on April 27, 2010, 12:21:33 AM
So where would you guys place the ardent? It feels like a low 2 or high 3 to me, although with dominant ideal and substitute powers that brings it easily into 2 or possible a low tier 1 when you consider the easy recharge and breaking the action economy.

I'd compare it's power to the beguiler, setting it at high tier 3.

Best,
David
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on April 28, 2010, 11:18:33 AM
So where would you guys place the ardent? It feels like a low 2 or high 3 to me, although with dominant ideal and substitute powers that brings it easily into 2 or possible a low tier 1 when you consider the easy recharge and breaking the action economy.
That seems pretty accurate. I had it down as high 3 without substitute powers or dominant ideal. It's basically a - more or less - fixed-list caster.
With dominant ideal and sub powers, it easily gets into Tier 1 just for the action economy abuse. Now I think sub-powers are nice, actually, which puts it into Tier 2, but I would probably have a beef with dominant ideal as a GM - at least if used in that way.

So, yeah, I think you got it right.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: cru on April 28, 2010, 02:52:47 PM
Races of Ansalon has a base class called the Nightstalker.  Anyone want to postulate what tier this base class would fall under?
For your reference:
[spoiler]d6, 3/4 bab, strong ref and will, 4+int skills
light armor, shield; simple weapons + hand xbow, shortbow, rapier, shortsword
-detect undead at will
-trapfinding
-bonus to saves vs negative energy and necromancy (up to +3)
-cha+wis based spell casting, lvl 0-6 at lvl 1/2/4/7/10/13/16
-up to +6 to some skills and init checks in areas where 5+ creatures died
-advanced learning 3 sor/wiz/clr spells, necro/div
-rebuke undead!
-ghost cohort(s), can take class levels
-immune to neg.energy/necromancy/.. at lvl 20

spells

Nightstalker Spell List
The nightstalker spell list appears below.
0-Level: cure minor wounds, detect magic, disrupt undead, ghost sound, inflict minor wounds, mage hand, touch of fatigue

1st Level: cause fear, chill touch, comprehend languages, cure light wounds, darkness, deathwatch†, detect secret doors, detect undead, doom, hide from undead, identify, inflict light wounds, ray of enfeeblement, remove fear, unseen servant

2nd Level: augury, calm emotions, command undead, cure moderate wounds, death knell, detect thoughts, false life, gentle repose, ghoul touch, inflict moderate wounds, lesser restoration, scare, see invisibility, spectral hand

3rd Level: animate dead, arcane sight, cure serious wounds, daylight, deeper darkness, halt undead, helping hand, inflict serious wounds, locate object, ray of exhaustion, searing light, speak with dead, tongues, vampiric touch

4th Level: bestow curse, break enchantment, cure critical wounds, death ward, detect scrying, discern lies, dismissal, enervation, fear, inflict critical wounds, locate creature, remove curse, restoration

5th Level: atonement, blight, commune, mass cure light wounds, mass inflict light wounds, raise dead, slay living, telekinesis, telepathic bond, true seeing, waves of fatigue

6th Level: banishment, circle of death, create undead, find the path, greater restoration, harm, heal, mass cure moderate wounds, mass inflict moderate wounds, spirit walk**, undeath to death

† Not considered an evil spell for the nightstalker.
** From the Dragonlance Campaign Setting[/spoiler]
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on April 28, 2010, 02:56:45 PM
Races of Ansalon has a base class called the Nightstalker.  Anyone want to postulate what tier this base class would fall under?
For your reference:
[spoiler]d6, 3/4 bab, strong ref and will
-detect undead at will
-trapfinding
-bonus to saves vs negative energy and necromancy (up to +3)
-cha+wis based spell casting, lvl 0-6 at lvl 1/2/4/7/10/13/16
-up to +6 to some skills and init checks in areas where 5+ creatures died
-advanced learning 3 sor/wiz/clr spells, necro/div
-rebuke undead!
-ghost cohort(s), can take class levels
-immune to neg.energy/necromancy/.. at lvl 20

spells

Nightstalker Spell List
The nightstalker spell list appears below.
0-Level: cure minor wounds, detect magic, disrupt undead, ghost sound, inflict minor wounds, mage hand, touch of fatigue

1st Level: cause fear, chill touch, comprehend languages, cure light wounds, darkness, deathwatch†, detect secret doors, detect undead, doom, hide from undead, identify, inflict light wounds, ray of enfeeblement, remove fear, unseen servant

2nd Level: augury, calm emotions, command undead, cure moderate wounds, death knell, detect thoughts, false life, gentle repose, ghoul touch, inflict moderate wounds, lesser restoration, scare, see invisibility, spectral hand

3rd Level: animate dead, arcane sight, cure serious wounds, daylight, deeper darkness, halt undead, helping hand, inflict serious wounds, locate object, ray of exhaustion, searing light, speak with dead, tongues, vampiric touch

4th Level: bestow curse, break enchantment, cure critical wounds, death ward, detect scrying, discern lies, dismissal, enervation, fear, inflict critical wounds, locate creature, remove curse, restoration

5th Level: atonement, blight, commune, mass cure light wounds, mass inflict light wounds, raise dead, slay living, telekinesis, telepathic bond, true seeing, waves of fatigue

6th Level: banishment, circle of death, create undead, find the path, greater restoration, harm, heal, mass cure moderate wounds, mass inflict moderate wounds, spirit walk**, undeath to death

† Not considered an evil spell for the nightstalker.
** From the Dragonlance Campaign Setting[/spoiler]
While you're at it, what about the base class "The Master" from War of the Lance? (tier-wise, that is)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Jopustopin on April 29, 2010, 12:00:02 AM
You'd have to say the master is one tier higher than the expert.  It's basically a PC version of the expert.  I can't really tell what tier the nighstalker is; I'd have to see it in play.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on April 30, 2010, 01:15:33 AM
The Master is definitely Tier 6. What makes an Expert good is that an Expert can select its own class skills, the Master cannot. The Master does get bonus feats, but only from a very limited and lackluster list and its class abilities revolve around aspects of the game that aren't competitive like crafting. The Master has 3/4 BAB and no mechanical abilities that help it fight, and 8+int skill points for a skill list much more limited than the Rogue, so it can't even face as well. It doesn't have trapfinding or magic, so it can't do anything better than the core 11 base classes, so it doesn't have a use outside of NPCs.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on April 30, 2010, 02:02:23 AM
I see it as FAR better than expert (though still quite weak).  While this class is best used as an NPC (and my players have LOVED some of the NPCs I've made with this class), consider this:
- by 7th level, you actually do have quite an expansive skill list
- performer focus is basically bardic music
- professional not only can make a descent face, but gets Leadership as a class feature (and at a +3 leadership score over the regular feat, to boot)
- sage = INT-based attacker for an INT-based class = not bad ; throw in "lore" and the ability to make a passable face in a pinch, and you've got something kinda nifty.
- with adequate down-time, craftsman can really save on the party's cash -- a +5/+5 weapon for only 19.5k instead of 50k can be pretty handy
And since you get 2 foci, you don't have to get pigeon-holed in to 1 thing.

Don't get me wrong -- this thing isn't "awesome" by any means (not even very good, really); however, if expert is a tier 5, this master is AT LEAST at the top end of 5 (and I happen to think that expert has been overrated in the tiers).  Despite it's lack of obvious tangibles, its abilities make it a kind of force multiplier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_multiplication[/url) that an expert can never be.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Jasuhn on May 11, 2010, 06:41:49 AM
The night stalker looks like it compares to a bard.  If it can use its turning to power DMM, it's probably as good or better than a bard, but still probably lacks the raw oomph of a sorc so I'd say it's looking tier 3ish.  The undead focus looks like a versatility lack, but DMM is nice.  Also, the other L6 "caster" that I'm familiar with, with cleric BaB is also an italiced tier 3 (psychic warrior)

On the Erudite, are you sure spell to power is required for tier 1?  They can still know every psionic power, and the way some augment, using one is the equivelent of several different powers, and really, how often will you need 11 different powers in a day.  How many DIFFERENT spells does a wizard half to cast in one day to break the game?  An erudite can have every power, and effectively spontaneously cast 11 different solutions to problems in one day, assuming that most situations can be dealt with by using the single best solution to the exclusion of all others.  Spell to power may give even more options available, but even with out it, they have the whole psionic library at their disposal until they use their last unique power, and odds are they'll be able to reuse some of their powers to solve new situations.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on May 11, 2010, 03:30:00 PM
11 powers per level.  Now whether that means Power Level or Eurudite Level is up for interpretation, but either way you have 99 or more different powers at 20th.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on June 15, 2010, 12:38:22 AM
Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but I am kindof interested in warblades tier 3 status. So I have to ask a couple of questions.

What does the Warblade do well?
How is it useful when that one thing is inappropriate?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on June 15, 2010, 12:55:37 AM
The Warblade for the most part only fights.  It has a few useful class skills for out-of combat use, but generally it's just fight.

It's a ton better than the Fighter, though, because manuvers allow him to move and remain relevant.  Even when Uberchargers get shut down, a Warblade likely hasn't been because he isn't needing that clear path.  Unlike the Swordsage, he can keep the pain coming as he just attacks to refresh his manuvers.  Only the Crusader beats him on melee endurance and an optomized barbarian can keep up in durability and damage.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: juton on June 15, 2010, 03:46:56 AM
A Warblade should be able to do more than one thing in combat. A chaingun tripper becomes kind of useless if his enemy can't be tripped or doesn't provoke AoOs. A Warblade should always be able to fight effectively when his A-game maneuvers have been neutralized. Also a Warblade has 4+int skill points and some reasons to invest in int for more skills, he won't be a diplomancer but he should be able to cover the average diplomacy check.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on June 16, 2010, 12:55:51 AM
So is it basically he can move+attack effectively and has some okay skills then?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on June 16, 2010, 01:00:21 AM
So is it basically he can move+attack effectively and has some okay skills then?
More or less.  Depending on the manuver selection, maybe some self-heal (Iron Heart Endurance), a way to get rid of undesireable conditions (Iron Heart Surge), much better saves (Diamond Mind save replacers), and even ways to aid allies (White Raven).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on June 16, 2010, 01:15:12 AM
So is it basically he can move+attack effectively and has some okay skills then?
More or less.  Depending on the manuver selection, maybe some self-heal (Iron Heart Endurance), a way to get rid of undesireable conditions (Iron Heart Surge), much better saves (Diamond Mind save replacers), and even ways to aid allies (White Raven).
So a warblade can move+attack, decent skills, doesn't get killed/dominated, and when the opponent has flying he can use White Raven Tactics on another party member? +scent and a bit of  battle field control from thicket of blades
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on June 16, 2010, 01:46:15 AM
Pretty much.  The thing is that a Warblade has options.  That's why it's in Tier 3.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on June 16, 2010, 07:06:13 PM
Exactly.  In any combat situation he'll be useful at the very least, since White Raven Tactics is always good.  In the vast majority he'll be quite useful, since he's got a ton of combat options.  And with his partial Int focus and decent skills, he's actually got things to do out of combat too.  Even his access to Mountain Hammer strikes means he can smash through doors, walls, and pretty much anything else in his way, which can be quite handy when you want a surprise entrance (or just want to get out). 

Basically, he's good in combat, and flexible in other areas, and is never really made useless (except perhaps when the party needs to be stealthy).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Glutton on June 19, 2010, 10:51:45 AM
would you consider dragonfire adept tier 4? did not see it listed.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Havok4 on June 19, 2010, 05:40:39 PM
would you consider dragonfire adept tier 4? did not see it listed.
Probably, it has a very limited set of options but can be a serviceable battlefield controller.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on June 19, 2010, 08:22:02 PM
I don't understand the position of the binder in the tiers, to be precise: why does access to the on-line vestiges makes binder tier 2? The ability to summon a critter every 5 rounds is really good & adds versatility, but the binder is good & versatile already. And unlimited critters don't offer the same game-breaking powers that explain why tier 1's are in tier one.

Just curious  :)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on June 19, 2010, 08:38:11 PM
I don't understand the position of the binder in the tiers, to be precise: why does access to the on-line vestiges makes binder tier 2? The ability to summon a critter every 5 rounds is really good & adds versatility, but the binder is good & versatile already. And unlimited critters don't offer the same game-breaking powers that explain why tier 1's are in tier one.

Just curious  :)
Other online vestiges:

Astaroth: gain abonus item creation feat of your choice, using your Binder level as the caster level.  Craft items without knowing the spell (suck that Artificiers!)

Zercyll: no save, no SR daze attacks with no descriptor (even undead and constructs can be nailed with it) and MINDSIGHT.  In addition to summoning.

Triad: proficiency with all weapons and numerous abilities

These are just a couple.  There are more.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on June 19, 2010, 08:42:32 PM
The summons also get spell-like abilities, effectively giving the Binder near-unlimited casting from a limited but decent list, without spending actions on it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on June 19, 2010, 09:03:17 PM
I'm aware of this, as well as the other online vestiges... and it's good, obviously, very, very good... but is it comparable to the earth shaking, game breaking power of tricks that wizards or sorcerers can pull off?

As I understand the tier systems, the tier 1's can pull off a lot of gamebreaking stuff, the tier 2's can do their fair share of gamebreaking stuff but less of it, while the tier 3's are simply pretty good in a lot of area's without turning the game upside down by creating demi-planes where the flow of time is different.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Havok4 on June 19, 2010, 10:38:04 PM
online vestiges:

Astaroth: gain abonus item creation feat of your choice, using your Binder level as the caster level.  Craft items without knowing the spell (suck that Artificiers!)

Zercyll: no save, no SR daze attacks with no descriptor (even undead and constructs can be nailed with it) and MINDSIGHT.  In addition to summoning.


You still need to get the spells cast from another source to get the magic item creation to work, and the daze attack requires a ranged touch attack and gives a save. Mindsight is very good though. Limitless summon monster SLAs can be quite game breaking if only in small ways, like summoning Djinni to get limitless amounts of permanent plant based poison or using hollyphants to get free raise dead (That allied army the bad guy just destroyed, not so dead now).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on June 20, 2010, 12:36:22 AM
You're right.  Still, it's a ton more options.

Desharis: Animate Objects more or less at will can be extremely handy.

Abysm the Schismed, the Triad, and Arete: You gain access to a number of psionic powers.  This can be handy combined with Astaroth to craft some handy psionic items.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on June 20, 2010, 02:08:47 AM
I'm aware of this, as well as the other online vestiges... and it's good, obviously, very, very good... but is it comparable to the earth shaking, game breaking power of tricks that wizards or sorcerers can pull off?

Sure.  Consider the fact that with Astaroth you can create items that do much of what makes the T1s overpowered.  You're basically an artificer when you want to be (but you still have to spend experience and all that).  Note however that Astaroth doesn't say you can make stuff without prerequisite spells, so it pretty much requires either being an Anima Mage or having another caster to help make the items, though some psionic items can be built with other vestiges.  The summons have all kinds of nasty spell likes (such as Mirror Mephits with their ability to give you Simulacrums... IIRC that takes Summon Monster 4).  Endless Simulacrums of yourself counts as a game breaker in my book!  Other summons give you things like unlimited healing without spending actions, for example.  Desharis is nasty too... it lets you effectively teleport to the last door in a dungeon if you roughly know where it is, starting at the first one (that's another one that will really screw up a campaign).  And animate objects combined with building your own custom objects to be animated is brutal... by level 8 you could animate a huge object, for example.  Build a hollow (to reduce cost) huge dwarvencraft quality obdurium centaur with chains on its back and you've got a nearly invincible tank (Hardness 32, four legs for stability, and the chains give it a bonus to grappling). 

Basically, the online vestiges grant a ton spell abilities straight out of the T1 caster books, and some of them you can spam all over the place.  Nasty.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Shadowhunter on June 21, 2010, 04:39:43 PM
I'm aware of this, as well as the other online vestiges... and it's good, obviously, very, very good... but is it comparable to the earth shaking, game breaking power of tricks that wizards or sorcerers can pull off?

Sure.  Consider the fact that with Astaroth you can create items that do much of what makes the T1s overpowered.  You're basically an artificer when you want to be (but you still have to spend experience and all that).  Note however that Astaroth doesn't say you can make stuff without prerequisite spells, so it pretty much requires either being an Anima Mage or having another caster to help make the items, though some psionic items can be built with other vestiges.  The summons have all kinds of nasty spell likes (such as Mirror Mephits with their ability to give you Simulacrums... IIRC that takes Summon Monster 4).  Endless Simulacrums of yourself counts as a game breaker in my book!  Other summons give you things like unlimited healing without spending actions, for example.  Desharis is nasty too... it lets you effectively teleport to the last door in a dungeon if you roughly know where it is, starting at the first one (that's another one that will really screw up a campaign).  And animate objects combined with building your own custom objects to be animated is brutal... by level 8 you could animate a huge object, for example.  Build a hollow (to reduce cost) huge dwarvencraft quality obdurium centaur with chains on its back and you've got a nearly invincible tank (Hardness 32, four legs for stability, and the chains give it a bonus to grappling). 

Basically, the online vestiges grant a ton spell abilities straight out of the T1 caster books, and some of them you can spam all over the place.  Nasty.

JaronK

God I love Binders :love
I prefer to work with a set amount of power and use it to a 100% efficiency rather than have an unlimited amount of power, as long as said power is versatile enough. Unlimited power only causes me headache to try and maximize, not to mention wrecking the gaming experience...
Binders fit the bill perfectly. They also require a rather short list of books to work.

The fact that they can crank out a Bluff check over 100 to convince the newly arrived Pit Fiend that you will quite easily slay him and trap his existence in your morningstar made out of [Insert Random Awesome Name] just feels all kinds of nice if your group is running low on spells/PP/HP at the moment.
Naberius + Astataroth, Diabolus of Baator = WIN.
Title: Fighters vs. Barbarians
Post by: snakeman830 on June 29, 2010, 09:45:19 PM
Most of us here at CharOp know that the Fighter is Tier 5, but the Barbarian is Tier 4.  Why is this?  At first glance, it would seem like the Fighter ought to be able to pull off whatever the barbarian can and then some thanks to his large numbers of feats.  However, this is not the case.

Both classes are clearly meant to fill basically the same niche of meatshieldmelee combatant.  However, the Barbarian just does it better.  Here is why I think the two are in different tiers.

1. Attributes
Fighters and Barbarians both need high Str and Con to succeed in their field (combat) and to a lesser extent, Dexterity.  This is the case for almost all melee combatants (with Tome of Battle, it is possible to get away with Dex-based melee instead of Str).  The Fighter also needs an Intelligence of at least 13 to access certain combat styles (noteably tripping) and to have a half-decent number of skill points.  He also needs a good Wis score to shore up his Will save (or spend two feats on Endurance and Steadfast Determination).  The barbarian, on the other hand, doesn’t need to invest much into these.  Raging gives them a morale bonus to all Will saves and Indomitable Will also lends a hand in protecting them from being turned on their friends.  If they nab the same 2-feat combos that Fighters can to shore up their will save, then the bonus from raging effectively doubles.  Int isn’t as crucial for Barbarians as they get more skill points than Fighters and usually don’t go through the Combat Expertise chains due to not having as many feats.  A Barbarian tripper build typically involves far more bull rushing and knocking over than actual tripping (forget that function of Shock Trooper?)  Even with equal emphasis on Int, the Barbarian still pulls ahead in that he doesn’t need to invest as much into Wis.  On top of this, a Barbarian can do something the Fighter cannot: simply raise his ability scores.

2. Accuracy
Both classes have the same BAB, but Barbarians are almost universally more accurate.  This is partly because they don’t have to pump abilities other than Str and Con as much as the Fighter has to, but also because he has a class feature that boost Str and Con when he wants/needs to.  Even if the Fighter actually wasted feats on Weapon Focus, he’s still usually got a lower attack bonus than the Barbarian. (Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, and Weapon Mastery only match the attack bonus from a Mighty Rage.  The Rage is possible to boost further and provides a much bigger boost in other ways).  It’s only by a few points, but when you’re Power Attacking, that matters a lot.

3. Damage
 Rage gives +3 to damage with a 2-handed weapon.  Greater increases it to +4.  Mighty is +6.  Add in the extra accuracy and the Barbarian dishes out more damage.  This is before you decide to use Lion Totem to up your damage significantly.

4. Durability
Here is the big one.  Barbrians were built for this and were pretty well unmatched by non-casters until Tome of Battle came along.  The difference in HD size between Barbarian and Fighter isn’t enough of a difference.  The Fighter can just blow one of his several feats on Improved Toughness and be more or less even on that.  No, the difference comes in primarily from the Barbarian’s higher focus on Con (it affects Rage duration) and the Rage boost.  On top of that, they gain increasing DR which, while it isn’t much, is excellent DR, since it cannot be overcome.   Only subtracting 5 damage from enemy attacks at level 20 is small pennies, but it adds up when you consider the number of attacks it reduces.  As if this isn’t enough, Barbarians are far less susceptible to traps, rogues, and ninjas than Fighters are thanks to (Improved) Uncanny Dodge and Trap Sense  While attackers don’t get any bonus for flanking the Barbarian with IUD, it really just cancels out the Rage AC penalties unless they have abilities (such as sneak attack) that trigger off flanking.  Barbarians also usually have higher saves than Fighters due to rage boosting two of them at once.

5. Versatility
This is normally where the Fighter would be expected to shine, but Barbarians have a strong showing here.  They have a few useful class skills so they aren’t worthless out of combat.  On top of that, while a Barbarian can’t specialize nearly as well as a Fighter can, that also means they can swap styles with far less pain.  Fighters and Barbarians focused on melee can both swap to a bow with similar efficiency, but the Barbarian is likely still doing more damage on account of higher Str and likely Dex scores.  Likewise, when both are focused on archery, the Barbarian is better off when forced to melee.

Are there any disagreements with my analysis?  Possibly more points to include?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on June 29, 2010, 09:59:11 PM
The barbarian also generally has better Alternative Class Features like Whirling Frenzy, CC Lion Totem Pounce, UA/SRD Wolf Totem Improved Trip, and the Golaith's Mountain Rage.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on June 30, 2010, 09:21:10 AM
Sounds reasonable, though I think they tend to be optimizable to about the same tier,3. Tier 2 seems to be a bit of a ceiling that some classes( p.warrior, beguiler, and so on) can shatter and others(Incarnate, totemist) really can't.
Varying optimization levels is something that I have been toying around with for a while.

I'm going to re-read  it in the morning though.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on June 30, 2010, 09:30:26 AM
Sounds reasonable, though I think they tend to be optimizable to about the same tier,3. Tier 2 seems to be a bit of a ceiling that some classes( p.warrior, beguiler, and so on) can shatter and others(Incarnate, totemist) really can't.
Varying optimization levels is something that I have been toying around with for a while.

I'm going to re-read  it in the morning though.
While I think optimizability (I don't think that's even a real word; but oh well) is outside the scope of this particular concept, I think you may be on to something -- maybe something that actually looks at the optimizability (look at that -- I did it again ... I gotta find a new word) of each class?

just a thought.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on June 30, 2010, 09:58:50 AM
Most classes tend to optimize to relatively similar levels, so it didn't seem necessary.  The Barbarian does it a bit better than the Fighter (why hello thar, Lion Totem.  I think I'd like to charge now...), which is factored in.  Obviously some classes move more than others... Fighters do move quite a lot, while Warblades are pretty stable.  Some classes I just couldn't rank due to optimization results (the Truenamer being the obvious one).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on June 30, 2010, 11:32:34 AM

While I think optimizability (I don't think that's even a real word; but oh well) is outside the scope of this particular concept, I think you may be on to something -- maybe something that actually looks at the optimizability (look at that -- I did it again ... I gotta find a new word) of each class?

just a thought.

While there is merit in that idea, IF you start to differentiate the problem, length of progression must be a factor, too. Taking two levels of Fighter is Tier 3. Taking the third level drops him down back to 5, unless you know where you're going. Taking two levels of unconnected wizard is Tier... whatever.

However, I think there is a ceiling. NO mundane melee character will ever advance above Tier 3, no matter how much you cherry-pick abilities.

Second however: I don't think this was the aim of the Tier system. The key is finding the sweet spot in the system.

Most classes tend to optimize to relatively similar levels, so it didn't seem necessary. 

I don't generally agree. Perhaps one should factor in how hard it gets to optimise to - the desired level. I've seen plenty of inept wizard players. I've seen plenty of intept druid players (and been one myself). I've seen MORE inept fighter players. One of the last campaigns I played in crashed because the MUNDANE melee character (me) did too much damage at level 12 or so. Actually, because the GM was lazy, but... his excuse was that I did too much damage. So the individual experiences can be very different. I personally thought the character in question was perfect Tier 3, and NOT in the upper range of that.

So, I think druids are easier to optimize than wizards, and those again are easier than sorcs. Psions seem more complicated yet.

I think one of the goals one could work towards is defining the ease of reaching the area where satisfying play is possible. In a Tier 3 campaign, will it be easier to play a Beguiler than any mundane melee character. It will be easier to play a Barb than a fighter.

So... I have it in the back of my head that something like this was tried before. What happened to that?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on June 30, 2010, 11:34:58 AM
The problem there is that everyone has different ideas of what "satisfying play" is.  There are many campaigns where you can't possibly mess up a Fighter... the level of play they like is so low powered that simply having full BAB and a melee weapon is sufficient to be satisfying, and even the feats don't matter.  There are others where lacking power spells as a Wizard makes you a chump.  It's just hard to define.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on June 30, 2010, 11:46:49 AM
Most classes tend to optimize to relatively similar levels, so it didn't seem necessary.  The Barbarian does it a bit better than the Fighter (why hello thar, Lion Totem.  I think I'd like to charge now...), which is factored in.  Obviously some classes move more than others... Fighters do move quite a lot, while Warblades are pretty stable.  Some classes I just couldn't rank due to optimization results (the Truenamer being the obvious one).

JaronK
Ah, okay.
It's just that I have noticed that every time somebody has been like "well, if you do *this* with *that*, ...", they were called-down for going beyond the scope of the tier system.

 :shrug

Maybe do like a separate thread that looks at various optimization levels of each class -- e.g., a straight barbarian is tier 5, but with Lion Totem, it's tier whatever, and with *this* option/combo/etc it's tier whatever else.
Though, on second thought, that just might be a little too complicated and convoluted.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on June 30, 2010, 11:50:52 AM
The problem there is that everyone has different ideas of what "satisfying play" is.  There are many campaigns where you can't possibly mess up a Fighter... the level of play they like is so low powered that simply having full BAB and a melee weapon is sufficient to be satisfying, and even the feats don't matter.  There are others where lacking power spells as a Wizard makes you a chump.  It's just hard to define.

JaronK
Oh, but that's the key: Satisfying play is TOTALLY party dependant. But the common denominator is still the ease of getting there. IMHO a fighter with crap feats will still MOSTLY look worse than the Barb with crap feats, because the barb gets a class feature that actually makes him good at his job, while the fighter does not. So the barb gets there easier any day.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on June 30, 2010, 05:35:59 PM
So, I'm thinking that a commoner might be able to be brought up to tier 3 with an absurd amount of optimization, but I don't think any amount of optimization will bring a warlock up to tier 2.

Off hand, feats like Wild Cohort, and the Heritage feats, and the use of Tangle foot bags and marbles
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bastian on June 30, 2010, 05:39:48 PM
So, I'm thinking that a commoner might be able to be brought up to tier 3 with an absurd amount of optimization, but I don't think any amount of optimization will bring a warlock up to tier 2.

Off hand, feats like Wild Cohort, and the Heritage feats, and the use of Tangle foot bags and marbles
"Pazuzu, Pazuzu, Pazuzu!" And then you're tier one. :) Any class can get as high as they want with enough optimizing.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on June 30, 2010, 05:40:13 PM
Right, but a Fighter with crap feats will look better than a Druid who uses his animal companion for scouting and his Wild Shape for disguising himself and travel while using his spells for healing.  I dunno, it's hard to do.

@wotc:  Usually that "called-down" effect is when someone applies a level of optimization to a class without applying the same level to other classes they're comparing to.  For example, saying the Beguiler is clearly more powerful than a Sorcerer because he could take Arcane Disciple to get extra spells known, without considering the myriad ways that a Sorcerer could get still more spells known with similar cost from similar books (such as spending a feat on Arcane Preparation and then taking a few levels in Mage of the Arcane Order).  

But yeah, it gets far too complex to say "this combo is Tier X, this combo is Tier Y" especially when all classes have a variety of combos.  Better to say "Barbarians are generally stronger than Fighters.  Archivists are in the same general area as Wizards."

@Ians:  A Warlock specializing in creating magic items could hit Tier 2 if they make really powerful ones (Candles of Invocation, those exp storing items that I'm blanking on the name of, scrolls of Planar Binding).  That took two feats (Scribe Scroll and Craft Wonderous Item).  Slow, but it would do it.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on June 30, 2010, 11:31:44 PM
got it.

ah-ha -- how about a guide for tiered games?  Basically, how to make the various classes appropriate for play at a particular tier.

I could be just grasping at straws ... :shrug
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on July 01, 2010, 02:09:28 AM


@Ians:  A Warlock specializing in creating magic items could hit Tier 2 if they make really powerful ones (Candles of Invocation, those exp storing items that I'm blanking on the name of, scrolls of Planar Binding).  That took two feats (Scribe Scroll and Craft Wonderous Item).  Slow, but it would do it.

JaronK
Its Lans with an L
I forgot about their crafting abilities. Use Warblade in the example then, I don't think they got anything broken.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: BrokeAndDrive on July 01, 2010, 11:18:35 PM
[post about maps and roads]
What about campaigns that don't have roads?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on July 01, 2010, 11:26:06 PM
[post about maps and roads]
What about campaigns that don't have roads?
Say :fu to the DM, an make your own roads (http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/5176/powerthirst-from-picnicface).   :D
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on July 02, 2010, 01:14:10 AM
[post about maps and roads]
What about campaigns that don't have roads?
Roads?

Where we're going we won't need roads.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: wotmaniac on July 02, 2010, 01:21:59 AM
[post about maps and roads]
What about campaigns that don't have roads?
Roads?

Where we're going we won't need roads.
:lmao :clap
I knew something was tickling the back of my mind, but I just couldn't put my finger on it -- thanks.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on July 02, 2010, 05:42:45 AM
So, I'm thinking that a commoner might be able to be brought up to tier 3 with an absurd amount of optimization, but I don't think any amount of optimization will bring a warlock up to tier 2.

Off hand, feats like Wild Cohort, and the Heritage feats, and the use of Tangle foot bags and marbles
"Pazuzu, Pazuzu, Pazuzu!" And then you're tier one. :) Any class can get as high as they want with enough optimizing.
I'm not counting broken items unless said class can make said broken items. I'm assuming Pazuzu is shorthand for candle of invocation.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on July 02, 2010, 06:05:02 AM
Nah, broken demon.

Alternatively, magical training + precocious apprentice + summon mirror mephit
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on July 02, 2010, 06:14:46 AM
Range of tier optimization would definitely be a good idea for a new thread, or an adjunct and addendum to this one.

Fighters have fairly high customizability, and so can range anywhere from tier 3 to tier 6, whereas any of the ToB classes remain fairly stable at tier 3, but very certain and specific combos (just 2 or 3, and mostly due to rules (mis?)interpretations) can become very powerful and very broken, but in general, they're solid tier 3 and there's not much you can do to move them away from that (it's VERY difficult, if not impossible, to make even a tier 4 warblade or crusader; given the usefulness and power-stability of the maneuvers they get by default, you simply can't do it).

Wizards (and by extension, sorcerers) have the highest variability of any class in the entire game, moving from tier -1 (well beyond merely broken) to tier 7 (even worse than a mildly-optimized commoner), depending on spell selection and play, whereas druids pretty much can't be screwed up unless you just don't use their class abilities at all, and remain tier 1 or REALLY high tier 2 unless you TRY to muck them up.

Maybe we should rank them on an individual basis?
Wizard: Tiers -1 to 7
Druid: Tiers 1 to high 2
Cleric: Tiers 1 to 3
Commoner: Tiers 6 to 4 (See: Infested with Chickens)
...Etc.

Of course, access to prestige classes should have some bearing on it as well. Wizards have tons of PrCs which add to its range, where classes like dread necromancers and artificers pretty much have to stay in their base class because they have so few options.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on July 02, 2010, 06:16:29 AM
Of course, access to prestige classes should have some bearing on it as well. Wizards have tons of PrCs which add to its range, where classes like dread necromancers and artificers pretty much have to stay in their base class because they have so few options.
Yeah.  The few prestige classes they can actually get a big benefit out of (renegade mastermaker, rainbow servant) take enough levels to the point where you're judging the prc rather than the class itself.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on July 02, 2010, 11:13:02 AM
I forgot about their crafting abilities. Use Warblade in the example then, I don't think they got anything broken.

They top out at infinite attacks (and even still it's only Blood in the Water that's critical from Warblades for that... and you could get it from a feat).  Still, WBL alone can break games wide open, so there's that.

But yes, some classes are easier to mess up and optimize than others.  Druids and Warblades are pretty stable... even though I have seen an effectively T5 Druid (mostly via not using their abilities).  Truenamers are unbelievably unstable.  Fighters I actually don't believe are that unstable... the best you're going to do is have them hit really hard, generally.  That's a max out at T4, though obviously with enough work you could do more.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mushroom on July 22, 2010, 03:00:42 AM
Marshal is ahead of Hexblade? That seems a tad bit odd
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on July 22, 2010, 03:57:12 AM
What do you mean?  They're in the same Tier.  Both have their problems and their uses.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mushroom on July 22, 2010, 04:06:26 AM
What do you mean?  They're in the same Tier.  Both have their problems and their uses.

JaronK
Hexblade is red(denoting just above tier 5), while Marshal clearly isn't
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on July 22, 2010, 05:01:31 AM
Ah, yeah, I didn't finish doing the top of tier, bottom of tier stuff.  It's possible Marshal should be red too.  Then again, they are awfully good at diplomancer abuse... but only as a two level dip.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on July 22, 2010, 09:53:44 PM
Hexblades and marshals fill two completely different roles: the hexblade being a martial debuffer and the marshall basically being a poor man's bard. You also have to take into account that the marshal's abilities peak much earlier than the hexblade's.

However I will say that it is much easier to screw up a hexblade build than a marshal build.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on July 22, 2010, 11:20:23 PM
As per "uses" idea ...

Divine Mind has two uses.
(1) ... proving psionics is not broken to even the most dense
(2) ... proving psionic recharge is not broken ; if in a party of tier 1s it'll be pulling up the rear

 :smirk  ;)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on July 22, 2010, 11:29:35 PM
Heh, everyone has a place, right?

Marshals are kind of hard to place.  They're kind of like Fighters... quite nice as a two level dip, but there's not a whole lot past that point.  So they're quite good as part of a larger build (though only to a degree, obviously... they're not power houses).  But a pure Marshal rapidly starts looking quite poor after only a few levels.  I'm thinking they deserve a red tag, or possibly a drop in level.  Thoughts?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on July 23, 2010, 12:18:58 AM
Double draconic aura makes going pure marshal juicy since major marshal auras count as draconic auras for this feat.

I think marshals are a solid 4 tier, no real need for the red tag. They get an excellent set of class skills and have a lot of potential for abuse. For example marshals get all knowledge skills as class skills, combine that with knowledge devotion and motivate intellegence for profit. There's a lot of directions a marshal can go both in-combat and out of combat and that flexibility makes them a step above the tier 5s.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on July 23, 2010, 01:15:45 AM
Huh.  How did I miss that they get all knowledge skills?  I could see a lot of use in that.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on July 23, 2010, 01:41:30 AM
Double draconic aura makes going pure marshal juicy since major marshal auras count as draconic auras for this feat.
No, they do not.  You can learn a draconic aura in place of a Major Aura, but Major Auras are NOT Draconic Auras.  You're better off taking the Draconic Aura feat twice and then grabbing Double Draconic Aura so you can have a minor, major, and two draconic auras up at once (hint: Senses is a good Draconic Aura choice)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on July 23, 2010, 03:13:23 AM
My bad but being able to have 4 active auras up at once is preety good.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Jopustopin on November 08, 2010, 12:38:46 AM
Did we decide that Dragon Shamans were tier 4?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mixster on November 08, 2010, 02:34:52 AM
Quote
Tier 4: Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribute to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well.
That would definately fit this description quite well.

I've never really regarded Dragon Shaman as much though. It is mainly useful for an aura granting fast healing, that can be nicked with a feat. Much weaker than a bard IMO.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Surreal on November 08, 2010, 08:41:49 AM
It is mainly useful for an aura granting fast healing, that can be nicked with a feat

Highly debateable (and I'm obviously on the "no" side), but I don't want to start that argument for the bajillionth time.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 08, 2010, 09:38:01 AM
Either way, many classes can now fast heal all the way up to full, which IMO is a lot better by far (who'd want to enter a new fight at half HP?).  So I dunno, it's either 4 or 5.  But I've never played one.  4 is my guess.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mixster on November 08, 2010, 12:47:37 PM
It is mainly useful for an aura granting fast healing, that can be nicked with a feat

Highly debateable (and I'm obviously on the "no" side), but I don't want to start that argument for the bajillionth time.

I agree, let's not start that discussion.
Assume it cannot be nicked with the feat, even then his abilities are sub-par to a decently optimized bard. Healing the entire party can be done with cheap items/tricks anyway.
There are also a limited amount of options when playing a dragon shaman, dipping one level for an aura is probably pretty decent. But if you want to primarily play a Dragon Shaman, your multi-class options are very few and far between, and retricts themselves to dipping.
Also the other auras than healing grant +1 or 2 to some rolls, or a lousy energy resistance to one type of energy, everything something that is fairly useful in low level games, but at higher levels it is meaningless.
The class makes for a good Con Focused High AC Survival build, but a Crusader does that better while still being a threat.
My verdict is probably Low Tier 4 with unique auras, and High Tier 5 with non-unique auras.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on November 08, 2010, 05:12:09 PM
If you take metabreath feats, you can make the Dragon Shaman a pretty decent controller.  Dragonfire Adepts can't take them.

Senses and Vigor are definitely the two best auras, but the former can definitely be grabbed with a feat (I'm of the opinion the second can too, but oh well).  A 1 level dip will net you 3 Auras with the most worthless definitely being Toughness (the DR isn't big enough when DR/Magic is actually useful and completely useless later).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on November 08, 2010, 08:08:55 PM
I'm more lenient towards sketchy rules interpretations when they don't break the game.  Picking up the vigor aura for the price of a feat is anything but a no-brainer, so I figure whatever, right?

It's a decent class to support a bunch of lower level characters, but that doesn't happen too often in parties.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mixster on November 08, 2010, 10:51:49 PM
If you take metabreath feats, you can make the Dragon Shaman a pretty decent controller.  Dragonfire Adepts can't take them.

What is stopping Dragonfire Adepts from taking metabreath feats?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PhaedrusXY on November 08, 2010, 10:53:14 PM
If you take metabreath feats, you can make the Dragon Shaman a pretty decent controller.  Dragonfire Adepts can't take them.

What is stopping Dragonfire Adepts from taking metabreath feats?
No recharge time on their BW. They can do it if they are also dragonborn and choose the BW for that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on November 08, 2010, 11:10:18 PM
Indeed, but I think the Rules Compendium implies (or Draconomicon) that then both of your breath weapons use the slower recharge time.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on November 08, 2010, 11:18:05 PM
If you take metabreath feats, you can make the Dragon Shaman a pretty decent controller.  Dragonfire Adepts can't take them.

What is stopping Dragonfire Adepts from taking metabreath feats?
No recharge time on their BW. They can do it if they are also dragonborn and choose the BW for that.
Honestly, the best "meta-breath" feat, isn't.  Entangling Exhalation from RoD is a no-brainer.  One instance of Recover Breath is useful if you have a cooldown (such as if you're a Dragon Shaman), and maybe one other metabreath like Maximize Breath is useful for cleaning up at the end of an encounter, but that's really optional.

Mixing in a little Barbarian and going for something of a menacer/beatstick is also an option.  Tangle them up with your breath weapon and them pounce them down one-by-one.  Taking an instance of Extra Rage will be useful here.

Dragon Shaman also benefits greatly from Stigmata.  You can heal the ability damage you take and wind up amplifying your healing potential in terms of raw HP.  Highly underrated benefit if Magic Mart isn't in full swing and you can't pick up wands of CLW at will.

I'd say that the Dragon Shaman is a little less versatile than the Warlock, but really not any less powerful.  Tier 4 is a good fit.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on November 09, 2010, 01:16:27 AM
High tier 5/low tier 4 for the dragon shaman, leaning towards tier 5.

It's ultimately a 5th wheel class, it doesn't fill any one role that well. It's most useful in larger parties that have the other roles already filled. Ultimately the marshall and dragonfire adept are better than what the dragon shaman does.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on November 09, 2010, 03:25:49 AM
Dragon Shaman is on par with Marshall. The Marshal has better auras, skills and grant move action.
Dragon Shaman has healing, restoration, divination, breath weapon and can probably make the party breath underwater.

Optimization its Entangling breath+invocation vs quad aura.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on November 09, 2010, 03:35:13 AM
High tier 5/low tier 4 for the dragon shaman, leaning towards tier 5.

It's ultimately a 5th wheel class, it doesn't fill any one role that well. It's most useful in larger parties that have the other roles already filled. Ultimately the marshall and dragonfire adept are better than what the dragon shaman does.
You may say tier 5, but what you describe is actually tier 4.  Tier 5 is reserved for classes that can really only do one thing and don't do it particularly well (read: Fighter).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: genuine on November 09, 2010, 04:15:43 AM
[quote author=JaronK link=topic=5293.msg294693#msg294693 date=1279834175
Marshals are kind of hard to place.  They're kind of like Fighters... quite nice as a two level dip, but there's not a whole lot past that point. 

...

Thoughts?

JaronK[/quote]

I wonder if it might be worthwhile to have a second tier list - one list for the pure class, or for builds focused in the class, and a list where the class is only used as a dip.

Cleric, for example, remains useful as a one or two level dip even when the casting abilities aren't seriously utilized. Two levels of druid are pretty crappy if you don't use PrCing to advance casting and/or shapeshifting. In the same way classes like fighter and marshal get far better as a part of a build than when they're the actual focus of a build.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on November 09, 2010, 07:03:51 AM
The marshal is a 7 or 8 level class at best.

There's only 4 minor auras worth taking: motivate charisma, motivate intellegence (for knowledge devotion), art of war (for tripping), and motivate dexterity (for initative).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mixster on November 09, 2010, 12:45:20 PM
Dragon Shaman is on par with Marshall. The Marshal has better auras, skills and grant move action.
Dragon Shaman has healing, restoration, divination, breath weapon and can probably make the party breath underwater.

Optimization its Entangling breath+invocation vs quad aura.



Dragon shamans have no invocations.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: jameswilliamogle on November 09, 2010, 02:07:43 PM
All my Dragon Shamans have exactly one least invocation.  (Dragon Magic ACF)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Surreal on November 10, 2010, 04:08:54 AM
As much as I like Dragon Shamans, I wouldn't put them any higher than tier 4. They have very strong and versatile healing/restoration abilities outside of casters, decent toughness and endurance (good hd, medium armor, a few immunities, energy resistance). Their power curve drops off by mid game when the casting classes start to accelerate, but that's the case for basically everyone aside from the casters themselves. Even if you play them "dumb", in a combat setting you're alternating between an attack, breath weapon, and healing/restoring which is hardly useless.

They do make a nice dip class, and benefit hugely from multiclassing.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on November 10, 2010, 07:53:40 AM
They also get 1 divination ability thats pretty decent.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 20, 2010, 05:43:18 PM
Quick chip in: the only online vestige that really makes Binders go completely wild is Zceryll. The others tend to either be one-trick ponies or very situational, and don't break the world quite so badly.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on November 20, 2010, 11:32:29 PM
If you take metabreath feats, you can make the Dragon Shaman a pretty decent controller.  Dragonfire Adepts can't take them.

What is stopping Dragonfire Adepts from taking metabreath feats?
No recharge time on their BW. They can do it if they are also dragonborn and choose the BW for that.
Their recharge time is 1 round. QED
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 21, 2010, 01:58:35 AM
No recharge time on their BW. They can do it if they are also dragonborn and choose the BW for that.
Their recharge time is 1 round. QED

This is not true. It is an at-will standard action with no other limitations than action cost. A DFA who received multiple standard actions or had a hypothetical "Quicken Supernatural Ability" feat could use his breath weapon multiple times per round.

Also, QED doesn't work like that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on November 22, 2010, 07:48:06 AM
Power Surge from Dragon 313 gives them a recharge time.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on November 22, 2010, 10:42:09 AM
Quick chip in: the only online vestige that really makes Binders go completely wild is Zceryll. The others tend to either be one-trick ponies or very situational, and don't break the world quite so badly.
Not sure where binders suddenly came from, but...

I think Binders are consistently weaker than both the Tier 3 initiators and the Tier 3 Incarnum classes (which, while not on the front page, would be at least the Totemist) - both of the latter are easier to build, have more focused and more easily combined abilities, and are more dippable. In fact, even though I've often thought I wanted to play a binder, actually making one that satisfied my needs - at levels below dual-vestiges, no less - actually put me off. Most vestiges offer a few powerful, yet almost randomly unfocused abilties.

So I agree. With Zceryll and liberal applications of summoning replacements, fine, but without...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 22, 2010, 03:23:27 PM
Quick chip in: the only online vestige that really makes Binders go completely wild is Zceryll. The others tend to either be one-trick ponies or very situational, and don't break the world quite so badly.
Not sure where binders suddenly came from, but...

I think Binders are consistently weaker than both the Tier 3 initiators and the Tier 3 Incarnum classes (which, while not on the front page, would be at least the Totemist) - both of the latter are easier to build, have more focused and more easily combined abilities, and are more dippable. In fact, even though I've often thought I wanted to play a binder, actually making one that satisfied my needs - at levels below dual-vestiges, no less - actually put me off. Most vestiges offer a few powerful, yet almost randomly unfocused abilties.

So I agree. With Zceryll and liberal applications of summoning replacements, fine, but without...
The thing about Binders is that despite their ability use several tricks, the usefulness of said tricks is limited by your ability to plan ahead. Andras, for example, makes a perfectly good vestige for you to bind before level 8... if you have a Valorous lance and aren't going underground. Without SOME degree of specialization, their bag of tricks just isn't that nifty. Zceryll actually only elevates them to Tier 2 because it allows them summon Genies, and effectively give them infinite Wishes... and that's it. Even as Tier 2s, they're REALLY LOW Tier 2s, because that's the only gamebreaking trick they can pull off.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on November 22, 2010, 03:44:06 PM
For the online vestiges I think there is a crafting one, and one that allows you to animate a box with a grapple check of 1337.

Binders probably tend  to be on the weak side until level 8, when they can get 2 binds.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 22, 2010, 03:54:19 PM
Binders is that despite their ability use several tricks, the usefulness of said tricks is limited by your ability to plan ahead. Andras, for example, makes a perfectly good vestige for you to bind before level 8... if you have a Valorous lance and aren't going underground. Without SOME degree of specialization, their bag of tricks just isn't that nifty. Zceryll actually only elevates them to Tier 2 because it allows them summon Genies, and effectively give them infinite Wishes... and that's it. Even as Tier 2s, they're REALLY LOW Tier 2s, because that's the only gamebreaking trick they can pull off.

Actually, that's one of the party tricks they don't get. Summoned creatures don't use spell-like abilities that would cost XP as spells. Zceryll binders do, however, get unlimited uses per day of any non-XP-costing spell-like ability that can be used by any creature on the SM1-9 lists (substitution creatures included), which includes a surprising variety of stuff, including a number that normally have expensive material components. Zceryll's other benefits are also pretty strong, but not T2 material.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 23, 2010, 04:41:53 AM
Binders is that despite their ability use several tricks, the usefulness of said tricks is limited by your ability to plan ahead. Andras, for example, makes a perfectly good vestige for you to bind before level 8... if you have a Valorous lance and aren't going underground. Without SOME degree of specialization, their bag of tricks just isn't that nifty. Zceryll actually only elevates them to Tier 2 because it allows them summon Genies, and effectively give them infinite Wishes... and that's it. Even as Tier 2s, they're REALLY LOW Tier 2s, because that's the only gamebreaking trick they can pull off.

Actually, that's one of the party tricks they don't get. Summoned creatures don't use spell-like abilities that would cost XP as spells. Zceryll binders do, however, get unlimited uses per day of any non-XP-costing spell-like ability that can be used by any creature on the SM1-9 lists (substitution creatures included), which includes a surprising variety of stuff, including a number that normally have expensive material components. Zceryll's other benefits are also pretty strong, but not T2 material.
Wait up. Can you get me a quote on this specific bit?

Although I'll concede the rest.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 23, 2010, 06:54:57 AM
Wait up. Can you get me a quote on this specific bit?

Although I'll concede the rest.

From the SRD, under the Summoning subschool: "A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities it may have, and it refuses to cast any spells that would cost it XP, or to use any spell-like abilities that would cost XP if they were spells. "

Zceryll's ability specifically summons the creatures, and so they're restricted by the summoned-creature rules. On the other hand, it does not constitute summoning them with a Summon Monster spell, so a few creatures that have funny interactions with Summon Monster specifically don't trigger their abilities (Wastrilith, I'm looking at you.)

Now, with that aside, it does give you access to about a billion different spell-likes unlimited times per day, which is pretty potent if you leverage it right - Wish just isn't one of them.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 23, 2010, 07:48:25 AM
This is why endless wish tricks require calling, not summoning, efreetis.  Binders being T2 with the summoning vestige is because they can easily have many creatures up at all times, with a huge variety of abilities ready to go at a moment's notice (or, at most, 5 rounds notice).  This means stuff like endless healing, any movement mode needed, all varieties of detection... pretty much anything you might need.  Plus there's the vestige that lets Binders make magic items all they want, and that leads to all kinds of fun.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 23, 2010, 08:25:46 AM
This is why endless wish tricks require calling, not summoning, efreetis.  Binders being T2 with the summoning vestige is because they can easily have many creatures up at all times, with a huge variety of abilities ready to go at a moment's notice (or, at most, 5 rounds notice).  This means stuff like endless healing, any movement mode needed, all varieties of detection... pretty much anything you might need.  Plus there's the vestige that lets Binders make magic items all they want, and that leads to all kinds of fun.

JaronK

With regards to "many creatures at all times", it's important to note that the designer clarified in a later post on the Wizards boards that the power is intended to have a duration of 1 round/EBL, so you don't get the Hound Archon Army that initial literal readings of the power led to. This doesn't make the power any less versatile and you can still always have at least one creature (more depending on level) but it's not a pocket army.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 23, 2010, 04:47:06 PM
This is why endless wish tricks require calling, not summoning, efreetis.  Binders being T2 with the summoning vestige is because they can easily have many creatures up at all times, with a huge variety of abilities ready to go at a moment's notice (or, at most, 5 rounds notice).  This means stuff like endless healing, any movement mode needed, all varieties of detection... pretty much anything you might need.  Plus there's the vestige that lets Binders make magic items all they want, and that leads to all kinds of fun.

JaronK

Out of the abilities you mentioned, this is the least worrisome of them, and Buer can allow you to do that as well given enough time (plus, we all know nobody likes to be the healbot). But I agree, the ability to have multiple monsters with spell-likes at once does make it very potent. I just don't think all other online vestiges share the same potency.

This is why endless wish tricks require calling, not summoning, efreetis.  Binders being T2 with the summoning vestige is because they can easily have many creatures up at all times, with a huge variety of abilities ready to go at a moment's notice (or, at most, 5 rounds notice).  This means stuff like endless healing, any movement mode needed, all varieties of detection... pretty much anything you might need.  Plus there's the vestige that lets Binders make magic items all they want, and that leads to all kinds of fun.

JaronK

With regards to "many creatures at all times", it's important to note that the designer clarified in a later post on the Wizards boards that the power is intended to have a duration of 1 round/EBL, so you don't get the Hound Archon Army that initial literal readings of the power led to. This doesn't make the power any less versatile and you can still always have at least one creature (more depending on level) but it's not a pocket army.

I was always under the impression it was 1 round/EBL since the duration wasn't stated, so we defaulted to the spell.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: opticalshadow on November 23, 2010, 06:01:22 PM
This is why endless wish tricks require calling, not summoning, efreetis.  Binders being T2 with the summoning vestige is because they can easily have many creatures up at all times, with a huge variety of abilities ready to go at a moment's notice (or, at most, 5 rounds notice).  This means stuff like endless healing, any movement mode needed, all varieties of detection... pretty much anything you might need.  Plus there's the vestige that lets Binders make magic items all they want, and that leads to all kinds of fun.

JaronK

With regards to "many creatures at all times", it's important to note that the designer clarified in a later post on the Wizards boards that the power is intended to have a duration of 1 round/EBL, so you don't get the Hound Archon Army that initial literal readings of the power led to. This doesn't make the power any less versatile and you can still always have at least one creature (more depending on level) but it's not a pocket army.

the problem with that is unless its released under an errata or some form of offical pubslish, it doesnt change that by raw it can be used either way, it may have been idk as i dont tend to have players or myself try to abuse the system into oblivion.

i had a question however reguarding an earlier character build, which would still require the use of another party member, but not a teir 1 or 2. now Dread necro is my fav class hands down, the things you can get away with are just silly while not game breaking (ever use a giant zombie burrower to make an underground bus? or hide in the chest of a giant skelly let him grapple and make touch atks?) this regaurds the pot throwing rouge.  now many times ive had the ability to have a legion of undead with little use for them, since dm's tend to shy away from letting me have them do much, but one thing they do alot is gather resources. while i dont think you could make the thousands needed, could you not have them gather, and with the right undead, make the potions for you? if you can ball park a few hundred skellies to gather supplies and some better undead to actually make them, even if the lab blows up, what are you out? two days of undead raiseing tops? it still doesnt help the build any for the rouge requireing another class, but it is more viable then trying to dodge creation rules with a wizard, although just as likly banned by a dm.

im not asking in a deffencive messure, more or less as a general curiosity for possible future game involving party members that rely on massive resource needs.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on November 23, 2010, 06:09:42 PM
Eh, I'd just set up a mining company.  Your skellies don't complain about darkness, dangerous conditions, or even cave-ins.  They can also work around the clock, so you can drive competitors down with your low prices.  Turn those undead the DM won't let you carry around into a resource!
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 23, 2010, 06:26:14 PM
I was always under the impression it was 1 round/EBL since the duration wasn't stated, so we defaulted to the spell.

It's a logical assumption, but until that clarification was posted there were a depressing number of people who insisted that it absolutely had to mean the summons stuck around forever.

Anyhow, you're right that no other online vestige is nearly as important as Zceryll - in fact, I'd say that no other vestige from any source, of any level, gives as much as Zceryll does. In addition to the summoning, telepathy + mindsight is fantastic and the pseudonatural template gives a lot - scaling SR, DR, and energy resistance, and the type change to outsider grants darkvision and arguably full martial weapon proficiency. On most vestiges, that would be three or four distinct granted powers.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on November 23, 2010, 07:17:19 PM
I was always under the impression it was 1 round/EBL since the duration wasn't stated, so we defaulted to the spell.

It's a logical assumption, but until that clarification was posted there were a depressing number of people who insisted that it absolutely had to mean the summons stuck around forever.

Anyhow, you're right that no other online vestige is nearly as important as Zceryll - in fact, I'd say that no other vestige from any source, of any level, gives as much as Zceryll does. In addition to the summoning, telepathy + mindsight is fantastic and the pseudonatural template gives a lot - scaling SR, DR, and energy resistance, and the type change to outsider grants darkvision and arguably full martial weapon proficiency. On most vestiges, that would be three or four distinct granted powers.
Hmm... but considering the power of summons - and it's questionable whether the summoning-buffing feats work for Binders - I don't think even a Zceryll abusing binder will be gamebreaking at all. While an endless amount of essentially free HP are all good and well, I think it adds nothing that a Dreadnecro can't do better, or at least just as well. Summons are mostly distractions and blockers, their combat abilities at higher levels won't put much of a dent in a BBEG. I think a necro is stronger, overall, and only Tier 3. So.. basically is a Zceryll Binder really Tier 2? I don't really think so.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 23, 2010, 07:43:04 PM
Hmm... but considering the power of summons - and it's questionable whether the summoning-buffing feats work for Binders - I don't think even a Zceryll abusing binder will be gamebreaking at all. While an endless amount of essentially free HP are all good and well, I think it adds nothing that a Dreadnecro can't do better, or at least just as well. Summons are mostly distractions and blockers, their combat abilities at higher levels won't put much of a dent in a BBEG. I think a necro is stronger, overall, and only Tier 3. So.. basically is a Zceryll Binder really Tier 2? I don't really think so.

The big weight of the power of Zceryll's summoning isn't in a fight, to be honest. It's good in a fight, but on its own it's not a supreme fightmaster - you'll want to add in some other things to do when combat breaks out.

The big deal with Zceryll is the summons' spell-like abilities. It's not until you sit down and actually go through the available options that you realize just how many abilities that is. Heck, a number of the summonable options are actually full-fledged spellcasters themselves. Now, when you're an actual spellcaster, it's a losing proposition to spend a ninth-level spell to summon a twelfth-level wizard or cleric (or similar deals at lower levels). On the other hand, when you have absolutely no resource or opportunity cost to it, and can just poo out twelfth-level spellcasters all damn day to cast as many spells as they feel like, you've got something going on. "Can cast an unlimited number of cleric or wizard spells per day up to sixth level" is a pretty dang significant ability and that's only two summons - higher-level abilities are available if you feel like actually getting specific, and a lot of abilities that are just bizarre and unique. What it lacks in the quality of true ninth-level spellcasting, it makes up in sheer quantity and variety of lower-level casting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 23, 2010, 08:40:25 PM
Hmm... but considering the power of summons - and it's questionable whether the summoning-buffing feats work for Binders - I don't think even a Zceryll abusing binder will be gamebreaking at all. While an endless amount of essentially free HP are all good and well, I think it adds nothing that a Dreadnecro can't do better, or at least just as well. Summons are mostly distractions and blockers, their combat abilities at higher levels won't put much of a dent in a BBEG. I think a necro is stronger, overall, and only Tier 3. So.. basically is a Zceryll Binder really Tier 2? I don't really think so.

The big weight of the power of Zceryll's summoning isn't in a fight, to be honest. It's good in a fight, but on its own it's not a supreme fightmaster - you'll want to add in some other things to do when combat breaks out.

The big deal with Zceryll is the summons' spell-like abilities. It's not until you sit down and actually go through the available options that you realize just how many abilities that is. Heck, a number of the summonable options are actually full-fledged spellcasters themselves. Now, when you're an actual spellcaster, it's a losing proposition to spend a ninth-level spell to summon a twelfth-level wizard or cleric (or similar deals at lower levels). On the other hand, when you have absolutely no resource or opportunity cost to it, and can just poo out twelfth-level spellcasters all damn day to cast as many spells as they feel like, you've got something going on. "Can cast an unlimited number of cleric or wizard spells per day up to sixth level" is a pretty dang significant ability and that's only two summons - higher-level abilities are available if you feel like actually getting specific, and a lot of abilities that are just bizarre and unique. What it lacks in the quality of true ninth-level spellcasting, it makes up in sheer quantity and variety of lower-level casting.

Indeed, the first complaint most DMs have with Binder power level tends to be "they can SPAM this shit?", much the same as warlocks. We educated people know better, however.  :D

On a more serious level, one could argue that Echoing Spell makes Wizards Tier 0, as it essentially gives them unlimited spell slots. So the expenditure of spell slots becomes less troublesome then. Barring a few obvious exceptions (Polymorph, for example), most of the OMGWTFBBQ spells tend to be in the 7-9 range. So it's slightly less broken if you stop to think about it, though not by too much.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 23, 2010, 09:01:33 PM
On a more serious level, one could argue that Echoing Spell makes Wizards Tier 0, as it essentially gives them unlimited spell slots. So the expenditure of spell slots becomes less troublesome then. Barring a few obvious exceptions (Polymorph, for example), most of the OMGWTFBBQ spells tend to be in the 7-9 range. So it's slightly less broken if you stop to think about it, though not by too much.

Well, you'll note I'm not saying they're on par with wizards, much less wizards engaging in infinite-spell-slot loops. However, if you can't break the game with an unlimited supply of level 12 wizards and clerics, plus unlimited use without component cost of a variety of fairly nice spells (raise dead, animate dead, and all the symbols off the top of my head, but there's a bunch more - those are just the ones that are useful very frequently so I remember them), then.. well, you're really not trying very hard.  :) And bear in mind that one of the reasons that warlocks and binders aren't as powerful as people first looking at them think is because normally you only get a few powers to spam incessantly, rather than being able to spam the entire lower end of the spell list incessantly. Even before you start getting proper casters on the Summon Monster list, there's a huge variety of stuff there from staples to niches.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 23, 2010, 09:33:48 PM
On a more serious level, one could argue that Echoing Spell makes Wizards Tier 0, as it essentially gives them unlimited spell slots. So the expenditure of spell slots becomes less troublesome then. Barring a few obvious exceptions (Polymorph, for example), most of the OMGWTFBBQ spells tend to be in the 7-9 range. So it's slightly less broken if you stop to think about it, though not by too much.

Well, you'll note I'm not saying they're on par with wizards, much less wizards engaging in infinite-spell-slot loops. However, if you can't break the game with an unlimited supply of level 12 wizards and clerics, plus unlimited use without component cost of a variety of fairly nice spells (raise dead, animate dead, and all the symbols off the top of my head, but there's a bunch more - those are just the ones that are useful very frequently so I remember them), then.. well, you're really not trying very hard.  :) And bear in mind that one of the reasons that warlocks and binders aren't as powerful as people first looking at them think is because normally you only get a few powers to spam incessantly, rather than being able to spam the entire lower end of the spell list incessantly. Even before you start getting proper casters on the Summon Monster list, there's a huge variety of stuff there from staples to niches.

I suppose that's true. But really, how do you plan to break the game with Raise Dead? Practically anything else, I could understand (things like Fabricate, for instance)...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on November 23, 2010, 09:36:54 PM
Its not breaking the game by being able to do X its breaking the game by being able to do A-Z, and having the action economy of a full on party with the moderate ruling.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 23, 2010, 09:40:46 PM
I suppose that's true. But really, how do you plan to break the game with Raise Dead? Practically anything else, I could understand (things like Fabricate, for instance)...

Raise Dead isn't a game-breaker, but componentless every-five-rounds Raise Dead is one of the many, many, many nice tricks you pick up as part of the Total Zceryll Package. It's just that on top of everything else, there is no reason anyone who dies within coming-and-asking-for-help distance of you should stay dead - bringing them back to life is literally less trouble to you than giving them a few GP for lunch would be.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on November 23, 2010, 09:49:33 PM
I suppose that's true. But really, how do you plan to break the game with Raise Dead? Practically anything else, I could understand (things like Fabricate, for instance)...

Raise Dead isn't a game-breaker, but componentless every-five-rounds Raise Dead is one of the many, many, many nice tricks you pick up as part of the Total Zceryll Package. It's just that on top of everything else, there is no reason anyone who dies within coming-and-asking-for-help distance of you should stay dead - bringing them back to life is literally less trouble to you than giving them a few GP for lunch would be.
I just got an idea of a crazy guy employed by the military of a large country to run around battlefields bringing fallen soldiers back to life in order to fight on in the battle.  End result of rarely losing soldiers in war (yes, death weakens them, but it'sbetter than outright loss)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: opticalshadow on November 24, 2010, 12:10:32 AM
I suppose that's true. But really, how do you plan to break the game with Raise Dead? Practically anything else, I could understand (things like Fabricate, for instance)...

Raise Dead isn't a game-breaker, but componentless every-five-rounds Raise Dead is one of the many, many, many nice tricks you pick up as part of the Total Zceryll Package. It's just that on top of everything else, there is no reason anyone who dies within coming-and-asking-for-help distance of you should stay dead - bringing them back to life is literally less trouble to you than giving them a few GP for lunch would be.
I just got an idea of a crazy guy employed by the military of a large country to run around battlefields bringing fallen soldiers back to life in order to fight on in the battle.  End result of rarely losing soldiers in war (yes, death weakens them, but it'sbetter than outright loss)

its not a bad concept, and could be quite lucritive, but the end result would just wind up more in your favour to just command the army and eitehr establish your own kingdom (which could still merc out your undead) or to take over enemy kingdoms which would net you more cash, since either way your the sole target to bring down for the undead, and you have to be involved since you control them. one of my favorite dread necro builds did just this, constructed a lair (i actually used the sunless citidel from way back when as the place, with a large custom built laird below the orginal, made with the goodies from dungeonscape) and my dm wouldnt let me walk around with an army, so i had a few bruiser body gaurds, a few cleric domanins (things like the travel domain help) and established a kingdom of the undead, i could merc my men out, wage war, or have a safe place to go if needed (it was the groups final mission to defeat me which they didnt know, but they would have to try and make it though this) and if things went really bad i could port back there (i also took a few dungeon lord(master?) levels for flavour) when it was time to camp i teled to my dungeon, left a nice big undead to gaurd the party.


thats what i love about DN, they may not be game breaking but i can with little work have my own game going on in the backround with a custom built party an objectives, its also a blast to harass your own team with undead attacks and never have them catch on.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 24, 2010, 04:15:10 AM
Out of the abilities you mentioned, this is the least worrisome of them, and Buer can allow you to do that as well given enough time (plus, we all know nobody likes to be the healbot). But I agree, the ability to have multiple monsters with spell-likes at once does make it very potent. I just don't think all other online vestiges share the same potency.

Sure.  But the point is that you can swap around to have whatever you want when you want it.  That endless healing thing?  You get it when you need it, then when you don't you get a new critter.  It's quite impressive, as opposed to Buer, who pretty much only gives the healing (a little more I know, but mostly just that).

Quote
I was always under the impression it was 1 round/EBL since the duration wasn't stated, so we defaulted to the spell.

I assumed the same.  It's not that you have a raging army, it's that you have three or four creatures up at once (that counts as many in my mind), losing one creature every five rounds and gaining a new one every five rounds.  A 15th level Binder can have 3 critters up at a time, 4 if they took the feat to use it once every 4 rounds.  A 17th level Binder can have 4, or 6 with that feat.  But each creature is perfectly tailored to the situation in front of you.  And yeah, it's the ridiculous number of spell likes you suddenly have access to on demand that makes it so nasty.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: the_shadowmind on November 24, 2010, 04:29:01 AM
Which monsters and what monster monster * are the level 12 cleric/wizard from?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 24, 2010, 04:41:57 AM
Which monsters and what monster monster * are the level 12 cleric/wizard from?

The firre eladrin and ursinal guardinal, both from BoED and both on the SMIX list and therefore available to level 18 binders. Other casters are available earlier (Ghostwalk's artaaglith comes to mind, casting as a fifth-level cleric from SMVI with some handy abilities besides) and are always rather underleveled for when they're summoned - but, again, the point isn't to whip them out in a fight, it's to be able to summon them en masse at no resource cost with as much flexibility in their prepared spells as the DM lets you get away with. :)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on November 24, 2010, 06:06:42 AM
I suppose that's true. But really, how do you plan to break the game with Raise Dead? Practically anything else, I could understand (things like Fabricate, for instance)...

Raise Dead isn't a game-breaker, but componentless every-five-rounds Raise Dead is one of the many, many, many nice tricks you pick up as part of the Total Zceryll Package. It's just that on top of everything else, there is no reason anyone who dies within coming-and-asking-for-help distance of you should stay dead - bringing them back to life is literally less trouble to you than giving them a few GP for lunch would be.
I just got an idea of a crazy guy employed by the military of a large country to run around battlefields bringing fallen soldiers back to life in order to fight on in the battle.  End result of rarely losing soldiers in war (yes, death weakens them, but it'sbetter than outright loss)

its not a bad concept, and could be quite lucritive, but the end result would just wind up more in your favour to just command the army and eitehr establish your own kingdom (which could still merc out your undead) or to take over enemy kingdoms which would net you more cash, since either way your the sole target to bring down for the undead, and you have to be involved since you control them. one of my favorite dread necro builds did just this, constructed a lair (i actually used the sunless citidel from way back when as the place, with a large custom built laird below the orginal, made with the goodies from dungeonscape) and my dm wouldnt let me walk around with an army, so i had a few bruiser body gaurds, a few cleric domanins (things like the travel domain help) and established a kingdom of the undead, i could merc my men out, wage war, or have a safe place to go if needed (it was the groups final mission to defeat me which they didnt know, but they would have to try and make it though this) and if things went really bad i could port back there (i also took a few dungeon lord(master?) levels for flavour) when it was time to camp i teled to my dungeon, left a nice big undead to gaurd the party.


thats what i love about DN, they may not be game breaking but i can with little work have my own game going on in the backround with a custom built party an objectives, its also a blast to harass your own team with undead attacks and never have them catch on.
I think you're confusing "Animaate Dead" with "Raise Dead".
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 24, 2010, 06:18:35 AM
I think you're confusing "Animaate Dead" with "Raise Dead".

Although in fairness, a binder can do both!  :p
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on November 24, 2010, 09:56:39 AM
Out of the abilities you mentioned, this is the least worrisome of them, and Buer can allow you to do that as well given enough time (plus, we all know nobody likes to be the healbot). But I agree, the ability to have multiple monsters with spell-likes at once does make it very potent. I just don't think all other online vestiges share the same potency.

Sure.  But the point is that you can swap around to have whatever you want when you want it.  That endless healing thing?  You get it when you need it, then when you don't you get a new critter.  It's quite impressive, as opposed to Buer, who pretty much only gives the healing (a little more I know, but mostly just that).

Quote
I was always under the impression it was 1 round/EBL since the duration wasn't stated, so we defaulted to the spell.

I assumed the same.  It's not that you have a raging army, it's that you have three or four creatures up at once (that counts as many in my mind), losing one creature every five rounds and gaining a new one every five rounds.  A 15th level Binder can have 3 critters up at a time, 4 if they took the feat to use it once every 4 rounds.  A 17th level Binder can have 4, or 6 with that feat.  But each creature is perfectly tailored to the situation in front of you.  And yeah, it's the ridiculous number of spell likes you suddenly have access to on demand that makes it so nasty.

JaronK
What's that feat's name, and where is it from? Can't say I've heard of it, is it from some Dragon mag?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 24, 2010, 10:02:20 AM
Rapid Recovery.  It's in Tome of Magic.  Any 5 round refresh binder ability now has a 4 round refresh instead.  Favored Vestige is a requirement, so you can only have this for one vestige.  Usually not worth it, but in this case it's REALLY worth it.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on November 24, 2010, 03:13:41 PM
Hmmm.... I would say actually choosing the spells on the summoned monster casters is beyond the scope of a summoning spell. You're just going to have to go with what the GM gives you.

However, that still gives you a load of spells.

But I maintain that level appropriate abilites are what matter, and those that you get rarely allow you to do Tier 2 stuff at the time when others are doing Tier 2 stuff.

At level 11, when you are getting Zceryll, what could you summon? Which abilites allow you to take the campaign off track, as other Tier 2 abilities can?

Quote
Summon Monster 6:
Blur* – (2nd)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/x)(at will)
Charm Person – (1st)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/13)(at will)
Charm Person – (1st)(Green Abishai)(6/13)(3/day)
Command – (1st)(Green Abishai)(3/13)(at will)
Create food and water – (3rd)(Janni, Genie)(7th/x)(1/day)
Cure Moderate Wounds – (2nd)(Pain Devil)(8/NA)(3/day)
Cure Serious Wounds – (3rd)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/15)(2/day)
Disguise Self* - (1st)(Green Abishai)(6/NA)(at will)
Gust of Wind – (2nd)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/14)(at will)
Quickened Fireball – (3rd)(Amnizu)(14/16)(3/day)
Invisibility* – (2nd)(Janni, Genie)(12/x)(3/day)
Lightning Bolt – (3rd)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/15)(2/day)
Mirror Image* – (2nd)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/x)(at will)
Ray of Enfeeblement – (1st)(Gulthir)(6/x)(5/day)
Scare – (2nd)(Gulthir)(6/16)(5/day)
Scare – (2nd)(Green Abishai)(6/14)(3/day)
See Invisibility* – (2nd)(Gulthir)(6/x)(at will)
Speak with animals – (1st)(Janni, Genie)(12/x)(3/day)
Suggestion – (3rd)(Green Abishai)(6/15)(1/day)
Vampiric Touch – (3rd)(Pain Devil)(8/NA)(at will)
Waves of Grief – (4th)(Pain Devil)(8/15)(3/day)
Wind Wall – (3rd)(Bralani, Eladrin)(6/x)(at will)
Wrack – (5th)(Green Abishai)(6/17)(1/day)

Which of these are Tier 2, even if you can spam them all day?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 24, 2010, 09:38:25 PM
Which of these are Tier 2, even if you can spam them all day?

I think the basic issue here is that the Zceryll binder comes into Tier 2 in a different way than the other Tier 2s. The thing is that T1 is "do everything gamebreakingly well" and T3 is either "do everything pretty well or do one thing very well". Logically, "do everything very well" should be T2, but every other T2 class is "do one thing gamebreakingly well".
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 24, 2010, 10:03:01 PM
That sounds to me like a really high tier 3, but isn't the criteria for tier 2 to break the game, though in less ways than tier 1?

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on November 24, 2010, 10:09:18 PM
That sounds to me like a really high tier 3, but isn't the criteria for tier 2 to break the game, though in less ways than tier 1?


Well, it's either the top-of-the-line Tier 3, or the bottom-of-the-barrel Tier 2.  Are you an optimist, or a pessimist?   :P
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on November 24, 2010, 10:12:20 PM
Well, not really break, but I think the intention was that Tier2s can also derail a campaign quite easily, just by fewer methods. (Well, you generally have to pick one and stick with it, while Tier 1s can pick and choose each morning.) And there's nothing much there in the summoned SLAs to warrant that, I would even say that summons get weaker the higher the levels get. If Zcerryl was a 1st, or at least 2nd level vestige, now THAT would be Tier 2 for a large portion of the game. Even Tier 1 for first few levels.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 24, 2010, 10:13:28 PM
That sounds to me like a really high tier 3, but isn't the criteria for tier 2 to break the game, though in less ways than tier 1?


Well, it's either the top-of-the-line Tier 3, or the bottom-of-the-barrel Tier 2.  Are you an optimist, or a pessimist?   :P

All things considered, my DM is pretty strict about Tier 2s and 1s, so.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Shadowhunter on November 24, 2010, 10:39:30 PM
I don't think that the other vestiges push Binder to Tier 2.
Closer to the line between tier 3 and 2, sure, but not over it.

The only thing I've seen that's broken is the Divination Machine.


Quote from: Consolidated Binder Handbook
Knowledge / Divination-like: :teach
7, 10, 15, 20 [The Triad] + [Dantalion] + [Naberius] + [Desharis] + [Cabiri]: Bardic Knowledge equal to binder level, +8 on Knowledge checks (RAW, should stack, but talk to your DM), and +5 from Call to Mind, for a minimum of +23 on all Knowledge checks (you can't take 10 or 20, though).  Use Naberius's Skills to get Knowledge:Local for any place in existence, and Knowledge:Nobility&Royalty, to learn everything about that location (even planar cities! :lop:): Desharis gets you another +6 on Kn:Local, for a +29 modifier.  "Yes, I know the answer, even though I know not the question, nor have I ever been there."  Cabiri is a one-vestige Divination MACHINE: Divination, as the spell, every round.  Borderline Broken.

Only problem is that you can't use 5 vestiges, but the main point still stands.
Note that Cabiri doesn't give Divination, that's Astartoth, Diabolus of Baator.

Cabiri "only" gives a +10 DC to all spells and spell-likes from the Scrying subschool...

Zceryll might have you able to spam summons, but I'm still doubtful as to what it gives that pushes Binder into Tier 2.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Surreal on November 24, 2010, 11:12:40 PM
Are there any summon lists that have swarms? Because then you have the whole Naberius + Dark Speech thing going, altough that's more an abuse of the feat than binders themselves...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 12:23:23 AM
The other thing to consider is Astaroth, also an online vestige, which lets the Binder create any magic item he wants (at least, any that only requires one feat) without needing prerequisite spells.  Note that the Caster Level bit is undefined, and even Custserv's answer on the topic is "ask your DM, we dunno."  It was most likely supposed to be that your CL is your Binder Level.  If that's the case, the ability to make any magic item as needed is extremely powerful (it's one of the strongest things Warlocks have too).  Consider the fact that you now have access to any spell, if you just make a scroll of it.  Other options include that other casters were supposed to be able to donate CL (unlikely, but plausible) or that this only works with Anima Mages (currently the precise RAW interpretation, but Anima Mages already have so much going for them that Astaroth is just a sideline bonus to them).

But it was the combination of Astaroth and Zceryll that made me think Binders hit T2.  You've got whatever ability you want when you want it (though mostly lower level abilities), you've always got exactly the right type of minions for the current fight... and you can make whatever magic items you want as well.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 12:30:25 AM
The other thing to consider is Astaroth, also an online vestige, which lets the Binder create any magic item he wants (at least, any that only requires one feat) without needing prerequisite spells.  Note that the Caster Level bit is undefined, and even Custserv's answer on the topic is "ask your DM, we dunno."  It was most likely supposed to be that your CL is your Binder Level.  If that's the case, the ability to make any magic item as needed is extremely powerful (it's one of the strongest things Warlocks have too).  Consider the fact that you now have access to any spell, if you just make a scroll of it.  Other options include that other casters were supposed to be able to donate CL (unlikely, but plausible) or that this only works with Anima Mages (currently the precise RAW interpretation, but Anima Mages already have so much going for them that Astaroth is just a sideline bonus to them).

But it was the combination of Astaroth and Zceryll that made me think Binders hit T2.  You've got whatever ability you want when you want it (though mostly lower level abilities), you've always got exactly the right type of minions for the current fight... and you can make whatever magic items you want as well.

JaronK

Can't use any of 'em for prerequisites, however, so you always have to pay the full crafting cost for them (beats beating full price, but still) and it doesn't give you more time to craft or diminish craft time either.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 01:03:18 AM
Yup.  Which is why they're nowhere near Tier 1 (and near the bottom of Tier 2).  You still get access to game breaking stuff, as well as the solution to any problem... if you have the time to sit down and do it.  And the money. 

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 01:36:09 AM
Yup.  Which is why they're nowhere near Tier 1 (and near the bottom of Tier 2).  You still get access to game breaking stuff, as well as the solution to any problem... if you have the time to sit down and do it.  And the money. 

JaronK

With magic items it's a relatively minor problem. I mean, let's face it, there are about half a dozen ways of getting whatever loot you want. You can use Leadership for an artificer cohort, say Pazuzu a bunch of times for chain-binding efreeti, and that's just the solutions I can think of off the top of my head that don't require you to be a caster and have the feats (including Warlocks).

Let's say the first thing you decide to craft is a thought bottle, so your costs XP-wise are slashed down next to nothing. Even considering the spell-likes from summons, you don't have a magic "print money" button (unless I'm seriously missing something here). Sure, theoretically speaking, you could just sell your summons' spell-likes as services, but your profit margin would be fairly slim, all things considered. As far as game-breaking goes, that's pretty easy to stop. How gamebreaking is the ability to craft items compared to, say, diplomancing the Magic Mart's owner up and having him just HAND you whatever you need off his shelf?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 01:44:46 AM
Diplomancing a magic mart's owner requires the DM throwing a diplomancable magic mart owner in front of you whose magic mart is big enough to give you exactly what you want and yet isn't actually protected from that.  I don't tend to count things where the DM is handing you power, because the DM can always hand you power. 

But the ability to just make a scroll of Planar Binding or any other spell that you want is a whole other issue.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 02:37:12 AM
Diplomancing a magic mart's owner requires the DM throwing a diplomancable magic mart owner in front of you whose magic mart is big enough to give you exactly what you want and yet isn't actually protected from that.  I don't tend to count things where the DM is handing you power, because the DM can always hand you power. 

But the ability to just make a scroll of Planar Binding or any other spell that you want is a whole other issue.

JaronK

Ah, the age-old argument of "this depends on the DM doing stuff". No it doesn't. You can just head on over to Sigil and get your ass to the market. And you can do worse things with diplomacy anyways, such as turning the BBEG into a daisy-eating hippie or commanding the dragons of the world to set it on (choose your favorite element here).

Further, not the question I asked. What I asked was: compared to diplomancy, how gamebreaking IS the ability to make magical items? Your example is scrolls. You're still spending gold and XP to get them, which at least in theory, are finite resources. If you could do it WITHOUT resource expenditure, there's no argument there.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 03:13:33 AM
Ah, the age-old argument of "this depends on the DM doing stuff". No it doesn't. You can just head on over to Sigil and get your ass to the market. And you can do worse things with diplomacy anyways, such as turning the BBEG into a daisy-eating hippie or commanding the dragons of the world to set it on (choose your favorite element here).

...assuming Sigil exists in your DM's game world.  It hasn't in any of the games I've played in (most DMs I've seen seem to like making their own worlds).  What if you're in Eberron?  In Althas?  In Greyhawk?  Sigil only exists in the Planescape campaign setting, unless your DM decides to borrow it.  We did have the City of Brass in one campaign function similarly... but in that game, we couldn't go there due to restrictions on our movements.  In another game, we had various cities that served vaguely similar functions that we could travel through regularly.

Quote
Further, not the question I asked. What I asked was: compared to diplomancy, how gamebreaking IS the ability to make magical items? Your example is scrolls. You're still spending gold and XP to get them, which at least in theory, are finite resources. If you could do it WITHOUT resource expenditure, there's no argument there.

Resources are expended, but not specific resources.  Money exists in every campaign world, as does Exp (at least by RAW).  Magic marts where you can get any item you want do not necessarily exist in all campaign worlds.  It's like builds that require very specific magic items (like the near infinite damage crossbow wielding Warblade build, which requires two Splitting Aptitude Great Crossbows and a method of having extra arms) vs builds that only need general magic items (most charger characters just need a decent two handed weapon to work with).  The first only works if the DM makes those items available to you.  The second should be possible in any world that follows the DMG guidelines (note that the DMG only expects full magic marts in metropolises... if you're playing in the classic "once this was a great nation, but now it's fallen into disrepair" sort of world, such metropolises may be few and far between.

As a rule, I tend to rank classes lower if they require specific campaign settings or resources to get their power, and higher if they don't.  A class that makes its own magic items (out of very common materials, such as simple gold and xp) is better than one that depends on finding exactly the right ones.  Dread Necromancers would be a lot stronger if I assumed you could always find 10 headed pyrohydras to reanimate.  Bards would be much higher if I assumed there was always some superpowerful guy that you could walk up to and diplomance/glibness away at to gain all his power.  But those things are by no means guaranteed.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on November 25, 2010, 03:55:25 AM
How about Binders at lower levels? The true effect of the summonings only seem to hit the spot later on. Also, Dread Necromancer has Planar binding, so has minions at his disposal as well, so it seems hardly fair Binders are so definitely set above them.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 04:29:47 AM
Note that Dread Necromancers lack Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor, which means when they use planar binding all they can do is summon stuff into a trap (I tend to use Ghoul Glyphs) and kill it, then raise it from the dead as a skeleton or something.  So instead of getting all kinds of awesome abilities (from the broken endless wishes to more manageable abilities), all you get is something like a skeletal nightmare (nice transport option due to flight) or a somewhat decent melee.  You can't use any of their abilities until you can create Bone Creatures with Create Undead, but since the CL required for a Bone Creature is basically the DM's call, there's no guarantee you'll actually get the really strong stuff like Bone Creature Efreetis (I'd probably set epic CL requirements for that, because the CL is supposed to be based on the power of the critter and 3 free wishes is epic power!).

A lot of people who rank Dread Necromancers as being super powerful just assume the Magic Circle thing was a mistake and give it to them, but at that point you're just house ruling them up in power.  By RAW, when they get is just melee and transport only minions, and even they aren't that amazing.  Honestly, I always thought they're written as intended in this respect, as it makes perfect sense and is far more balanced.  Then again, they do have that obvious glitch in their spell list with one spell being in two levels, indicating they were supposed to have one other spell (probably).

Binders at lower levels are distinctly in the T3 area (the online vestiges aren't available before then).  They've got solid flexibility, but other than the diplomancer option for Naberius they don't have anything game breaking.  Certainly they can get the job done and are useful to most parties.  As soon as you combine them with casters via Anima Mage and Tainted Sorcerer everything goes to heck, but that's more the casting side augmented by binding than it is the binding itself.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 04:58:17 AM
Okay, couple of pointers.
Quote
As a rule, I tend to rank classes lower if they require specific campaign settings or resources to get their power, and higher if they don't.  A class that makes its own magic items (out of very common materials, such as simple gold and xp) is better than one that depends on finding exactly the right ones.

Fair point. Albeit a relative one, as it's more dependent on something outside player control. In a world with magic marts, diplomacy will beat crafting your own items, whereas in other scenarios, it gets more powerful. My point being that diplomacy will be game-breaking all the time, whereas the usefulness of crafting depends on the setting itself. And even so the Binder isn't be-all end-all as a crafter there due to the limitation on the feats chosen.

Oh yeah, keep in mind that just because you can craft them doesn't mean you know every magic item in existence to cherry-pick the ones most useful to you.

Quote
Binders at lower levels are distinctly in the T3 area (the online vestiges aren't available before then).  They've got solid flexibility, but other than the diplomancer option for Naberius they don't have anything game breaking.  Certainly they can get the job done and are useful to most parties.  As soon as you combine them with casters via Anima Mage and Tainted Sorcerer everything goes to heck, but that's more the casting side augmented by binding than it is the binding itself.

One point people seem to ignore all the time about Binders is that foreknowledge plays a HUGE part into their versatility. At lower levels, even if you're lucky enough to score/build yourself a Vestige Phylactery AND have Expel Vestige, you're going to swap Vestiges at most twice a day (and make bad pacts in the process as far as Expel Vestige is concerned). The situation improves once you're able to bind multiple vestiges, though as your options increase, you keep wanting more of them at once, because some of the lower-level vestiges remain fairly solid even at mid-to-high levels (Naberius for the faster ability healing, for example).

Also: BY ITSELF, Naberius doesn't make you into the ultimate diplomacy expert. Even assuming you maxed out diplomacy (and Binders are Charisma-driven to begin with), the boon it grants doesn't automatically mean success (and up until level 8 he's going to be a sucktastic choice for combat, but anyhoo). It's once you start getting silly modifiers that he really factors in.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on November 25, 2010, 05:58:55 AM
Eh, it's like one feat to get magic circle as a dread necromancer.  Or a couple level dip into rainbow servant.  No biggie.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 06:29:38 AM
Eh, it's like one feat to get magic circle as a dread necromancer.  Or a couple level dip into rainbow servant.  No biggie.

That would be 10 levels of Rainbow Servant... hardly a dip.  And the simple fact is that all casting classes could gain more spells via a feat or two (you'll need two IIRC to get both Dimensional Anchor and Magic Circle).  They become more powerful in that case, obviously, but that's true of all casting classes.  Or you could do some Kobold nonsense and make even a Warmage godly.

And yeah, Naberius is just one part of being a diplomancer.  A standard diplomancer build would likely be Binder 1/Marshal 1/Warlock 1/Bard X, binding Naberius.

Meanwhile, no, Binders are certainly not the be-all end-all of crafting (if he was, we'd put him in Tier 1 and call him an Artificer) but it's still a huge bonus. 

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on November 25, 2010, 06:38:13 AM
Good domain and law domains both have magic circles - you get those at levels 1 and 7 respectively.  A lot of people forget about them, since the domains are pretty pointless on a cleric, but IME they're pretty decent.

So you can bind nongood creatures, which should be sufficient.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 25, 2010, 06:45:23 AM
No dimensional anchor though.  That could get problematic.

Point being, any caster can use that feat to get the necessary spells, generally.  That doesn't say much about any one casting class.  I mean, any class could do it via the Leadership feat too, you know?  Obviously it's easier for casters to do it themselves, but still... the fact that Dread Necromancers have one of the necessary spells doesn't say much.  If you wanted to spend feats to gain new spells, you could do it on a Beguiler or Warmage too.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on November 25, 2010, 08:43:37 AM
Good domain and law domains both have magic circles - you get those at levels 1 and 7 respectively.  A lot of people forget about them, since the domains are pretty pointless on a cleric, but IME they're pretty decent.

So you can bind nongood creatures, which should be sufficient.
Do you need an appropriately-aligned Magic Circle in order to trap the outsider?  I'm not sure you do.  Afterall, it's kinda silly to cast a Aburation [Evil] spell, followed up by a Conjuration (Calling) [Good] spell when calling a celestial.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 25, 2010, 09:30:46 AM
My point being that diplomacy will be game-breaking all the time, whereas the usefulness of crafting depends on the setting itself.

Really? My experience (which is, granted, only my experience) is that diplomancy is only effective with DMs who don't care what kind of shenanigans you're pulling off - that there are more DMs who will say "okay, you got a high Diplomacy success so you've talked him into a discount" than "the epic table in our nonepic game says that he's now Fanatic so he gives you all his stuff for free". Diplomacy only gets absolutely game-breaking when you permit the epic applications in non-epic games; even a Helpful character won't necessary go more than a small degree against his best interests unless your DM is extremely generous in interpreting the table, which comes back to "character is more powerful because DM gives him more power".


Do you need an appropriately-aligned Magic Circle in order to trap the outsider?  I'm not sure you do.  Afterall, it's kinda silly to cast a Aburation [Evil] spell, followed up by a Conjuration (Calling) [Good] spell when calling a celestial.

From a certain mysterious tome of secret lore (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magicCircleAgainstEvil.htm) regarding Magic Circle Against Evil: "When focused inward, the spell binds a nongood called creature (such as those called by the lesser planar binding, planar binding, and greater planar binding spells) for a maximum of 24 hours per caster level, provided that you cast the spell that calls the creature within 1 round of casting the magic circle." The other Magic Circles work identically with the specification that nongood is changed to non-whatever-descriptor-that-version-has. This means that clerics of extreme alignment can't create binding circles for beings of their own alignment, but this doesn't normally matter because they use Planar Ally where the called creature doesn't try to screw you over. Wizards will want to know two opposed circle spells if they intend to bind the entire spectrum of outsiders.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 02:30:11 PM
Quote
Really? My experience (which is, granted, only my experience) is that diplomancy is only effective with DMs who don't care what kind of shenanigans you're pulling off - that there are more DMs who will say "okay, you got a high Diplomacy success so you've talked him into a discount" than "the epic table in our nonepic game says that he's now Fanatic so he gives you all his stuff for free". Diplomacy only gets absolutely game-breaking when you permit the epic applications in non-epic games; even a Helpful character won't necessary go more than a small degree against his best interests unless your DM is extremely generous in interpreting the table, which comes back to "character is more powerful because DM gives him more power".

A) Nowhere does it say that epic applications of skills require you to be epic level to use them.
B) If you take DM fiat into account, then there is no such thing as a tier system, because even the most insane DM will say HELL NO to gamebreaking stuff.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on November 25, 2010, 02:44:26 PM
I'm still not really sold on the power of Binders. They are always so feat-strapped, and it's really easy to have a Binder build drop into Tier 4 - or worse.

JaronK, how does a Tier 3 binder build look at level 5? And to make it harder, let's say no flaws. Because a flexible build won't really end up in making a strong Andras charger. I keep ending up with spear-wielding generalists who do fuck-all in combat the first few levels, and then at level 8 can maybe do a decend bit of sneak-attack and whirlwind/dance of death stuff.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 25, 2010, 02:48:54 PM
A) Nowhere does it say that epic applications of skills require you to be epic level to use them.
B) If you take DM fiat into account, then there is no such thing as a tier system, because even the most insane DM will say HELL NO to gamebreaking stuff.

On the other hand, if you use diplomancy in the most permissive set of interpretations then any class with Diplomacy as a class skill is T2. Also, anyone who feels like saying Beetlejuice three times is tier 0. Leaving every abuse open renders tiers as meaningless as arbitrary houseruling does.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 03:33:01 PM
A) Nowhere does it say that epic applications of skills require you to be epic level to use them.
B) If you take DM fiat into account, then there is no such thing as a tier system, because even the most insane DM will say HELL NO to gamebreaking stuff.

On the other hand, if you use diplomancy in the most permissive set of interpretations then any class with Diplomacy as a class skill is T2. Also, anyone who feels like saying Beetlejuice three times is tier 0. Leaving every abuse open renders tiers as meaningless as arbitrary houseruling does.

Not quite. Some classes are much more awesome at diplomacy than others. Making a diplomancer build is not as easy with a single class, as JaronK's example build shows. A properly-built bard, for example, is probably going to be better at sweet-talking people than a Binder will be. But diplomacy requires focus on it to be effective, so it is more often the main schtick of a given build rather than part of a suite of powers.

I'm still not really sold on the power of Binders. They are always so feat-strapped, and it's really easy to have a Binder build drop into Tier 4 - or worse.

JaronK, how does a Tier 3 binder build look at level 5? And to make it harder, let's say no flaws. Because a flexible build won't really end up in making a strong Andras charger. I keep ending up with spear-wielding generalists who do fuck-all in combat the first few levels, and then at level 8 can maybe do a decend bit of sneak-attack and whirlwind/dance of death stuff.

Here's how I'd do it. (Although, honestly, it's not much of a build. And I tend heavily towards human characters because of the bonus feat.)

If you're looking at versatility.

Binder5
1) Improved Binding
H) Ignore Special Requirements
3) Expel Vestige, or Weapon Focus if you're looking into getting into KoSS by level 6.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Havok4 on November 25, 2010, 06:14:24 PM
You forgot the binder 4 bonus feat.  That helps with the feat issue a bit.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on November 25, 2010, 06:31:47 PM
I'm still not really sold on the power of Binders. They are always so feat-strapped, and it's really easy to have a Binder build drop into Tier 4 - or worse.

JaronK, how does a Tier 3 binder build look at level 5? And to make it harder, let's say no flaws. Because a flexible build won't really end up in making a strong Andras charger. I keep ending up with spear-wielding generalists who do fuck-all in combat the first few levels, and then at level 8 can maybe do a decend bit of sneak-attack and whirlwind/dance of death stuff.

Dunno if it's enough tier-wise, but in my experience malphas breaks the game already at level 1 with bird eye viewing. Find out what you'll face while spying with the raven/dove, decide what you need, and profit. Have to admit it prolly won't work in a 'kick in the door' dungeon crawl, but for me it always worked fine. Besides that, you can use it to spring traps, sent messages or as a diversion.

(As for versitality, I never aim for KotSS at early levels, simply because you need to take weapon proficiency in a sucky weapon, when there are so many good feats to take. Don't really see that prestige class as a 'must', even though it's ok, simply because it gives one extra attack at -15 at lvl 20 - but that's off topic).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on November 25, 2010, 06:50:55 PM
Thanks for the comprehensive response.

Note that Dread Necromancers lack Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor, which means when they use planar binding all they can do is summon stuff into a trap (I tend to use Ghoul Glyphs) and kill it, then raise it from the dead as a skeleton or something.  So instead of getting all kinds of awesome abilities (from the broken endless wishes to more manageable abilities), all you get is something like a skeletal nightmare (nice transport option due to flight) or a somewhat decent melee.  You can't use any of their abilities until you can create Bone Creatures with Create Undead, but since the CL required for a Bone Creature is basically the DM's call, there's no guarantee you'll actually get the really strong stuff like Bone Creature Efreetis (I'd probably set epic CL requirements for that, because the CL is supposed to be based on the power of the critter and 3 free wishes is epic power!).
Agreed with the Bone Creature thing. Getting Wishes just like that is a very high power trick. However, as pointed out it is very easy to get the necessary spells, so it is hardly a longshot to assume they can bind thing like Efreeti.

Quote
A lot of people who rank Dread Necromancers as being super powerful just assume the Magic Circle thing was a mistake and give it to them, but at that point you're just house ruling them up in power.  By RAW, when they get is just melee and transport only minions, and even they aren't that amazing.  Honestly, I always thought they're written as intended in this respect, as it makes perfect sense and is far more balanced.  Then again, they do have that obvious glitch in their spell list with one spell being in two levels, indicating they were supposed to have one other spell (probably).
I have never seen it houseruled that way, but I can see the point there. However, for the purposes of ranking them here I believe it's smart to consider them to have the spell list that's in the book.

Quote
Binders at lower levels are distinctly in the T3 area (the online vestiges aren't available before then).  They've got solid flexibility, but other than the diplomancer option for Naberius they don't have anything game breaking.  Certainly they can get the job done and are useful to most parties.  As soon as you combine them with casters via Anima Mage and Tainted Sorcerer everything goes to heck, but that's more the casting side augmented by binding than it is the binding itself.

JaronK
Bindings last 24 hours right. Yes, they can change the vestige daily, but that doesn't really help them to respond to different challenges over the course of the same day. The Anima Mage and Tainted Sorcerer things again are not so much about Binders' powers, but spellcasting. Anima Mage is an awesome PrC, that I must admit. Great fun to play as well!
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on November 25, 2010, 06:51:59 PM
(As for versitality, I never aim for KotSS at early levels, simply because you need to take weapon proficiency in a sucky weapon, when there are so many good feats to take. Don't really see that prestige class as a 'must', even though it's ok, simply because it gives one extra attack at -15 at lvl 20 - but that's off topic).

KotSS isn't fantastic, but for a straight binder it's about your best option. My tendency is to put it off until there's actually a vestige available that's good enough to want it bound all the time (which is to say Zceryll.)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 25, 2010, 07:04:24 PM
I'm still not really sold on the power of Binders. They are always so feat-strapped, and it's really easy to have a Binder build drop into Tier 4 - or worse.

JaronK, how does a Tier 3 binder build look at level 5? And to make it harder, let's say no flaws. Because a flexible build won't really end up in making a strong Andras charger. I keep ending up with spear-wielding generalists who do fuck-all in combat the first few levels, and then at level 8 can maybe do a decend bit of sneak-attack and whirlwind/dance of death stuff.

Dunno if it's enough tier-wise, but in my experience malphas breaks the game already at level 1 with bird eye viewing. Find out what you'll face while spying with the raven/dove, decide what you need, and profit. Have to admit it prolly won't work in a 'kick in the door' dungeon crawl, but for me it always worked fine. Besides that, you can use it to spring traps, sent messages or as a diversion.

(As for versitality, I never aim for KotSS at early levels, simply because you need to take weapon proficiency in a sucky weapon, when there are so many good feats to take. Don't really see that prestige class as a 'must', even though it's ok, simply because it gives one extra attack at -15 at lvl 20 - but that's off topic).


See, that assumes you're going to be able to change the vestige straight afterwards. It's not so simple, as at level one you are VERY likely to fail the Expel Vestige check. Invisibility at level 1 is pretty boss though.

You forgot the binder 4 bonus feat.  That helps with the feat issue a bit.

True, I did. If you're dead set on KoSS, for example, you can take Martial Weapon Proficiency for a non-sucky weapon.

Vestige augmentations are also pretty darn useful to squeeze minor yet significant bonuses. I find the DR and HP ones are best at low levels, however, when survivability is more of an issue. Initiative starts getting important when you've got the means to dispatch enemies in one round as opposed to over several rounds, and insight is a pretty hard bonus to get on a lot of things.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Shadowhunter on November 25, 2010, 09:19:16 PM
Quote from: Kuroimaken
Vestige augmentations are also pretty darn useful to squeeze minor yet significant bonuses. I find the DR and HP ones are best at low levels, however, when survivability is more of an issue. Initiative starts getting important when you've got the means to dispatch enemies in one round as opposed to over several rounds, and insight is a pretty hard bonus to get on a lot of things.

Don't forget that Fire Resistance 5 at level 2 when you're going hunting for goblins known to use alchemists fire either.
It's really welcome to be able to ignore 5 of 6 successful attacks against you.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on November 25, 2010, 10:26:22 PM
For diplomacy, the fanatic change is a mind affecting effect which means that it doesn't work on anybody who has appropriate protection up, nor when the 'shop keeper' is actually an effigy built by the crafter. Happened in a campaign my friend ran, that ended in a TPK from multiple simulacrums/effigies, the artificer and wands. From what he told me it was going to be a plot hook for when they were higher level to get them back to the town that they started.

I think there are also ad hoc rules for DMs to alter the DC for diplomacy .
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 26, 2010, 11:28:00 AM
My sort of generic binder is one that takes Improved Binding (that's pretty necessary), Expel Vestige, and whatever feats fit your campaign.  Honestly, Malphas alone is amazing from level 1 (that bird is SO useful and by level five you have permanent invisibility... look ma, I'm a Rogue!).  And I find that 24 hour binding isn't too bad at low levels... at least from what I've seen, usually you spend one day doing mostly the same stuff.  Fighting your way through an undead filled dungeon, for example.  Or defending the town against some Orcs.  Or generally shopping and finding stuff out around town.   It's not till much higher levels that you have adventuring days where you run around town talking to people, then teleport over somewhere else and deal with something else, then plane shift elsewhere.

And yeah, I've always had only the low level magic shops suseptable to diplomacy.  As soon as you get to high end gear, it just makes sense for the shopkeeper to have protection (after all, if there wasn't protection it would have been stolen years ago).  Golems who provide the service within set limits, as well as mindless undead (disguised or illusioned) can provide most services while keeping the shopkeeper far from harm's way, and as long as there's multiple levels of security (so a single Rebuke won't destroy the security) you should be fine.  Items can be passed through portals or ring gates from a centralized warehouse, with Permanent Image illusions on the shop walls to show merchandise.  Even unseen servants can handle services.  All of these will ignore diplomacy entirely... and of course there's plenty more defenses to protect against simply hide and move silently based thievery.  After all, anyone selling multiple 50kgp+ items in their store has a lot of free cash to work with.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mixster on November 26, 2010, 12:34:37 PM
As soon as you get to high end gear, it just makes sense for the shopkeeper to have protection (after all, if there wasn't protection it would have been stolen years ago).  Golems who provide the service within set limits, as well as mindless undead (disguised or illusioned) can provide most services while keeping the shopkeeper far from harm's way, and as long as there's multiple levels of security (so a single Rebuke won't destroy the security) you should be fine.  Items can be passed through portals or ring gates from a centralized warehouse, with Permanent Image illusions on the shop walls to show merchandise.  Even unseen servants can handle services.  All of these will ignore diplomacy entirely... and of course there's plenty more defenses to protect against simply hide and move silently based thievery.  After all, anyone selling multiple 50kgp+ items in their store has a lot of free cash to work with.
Huh?
I stopped having magic shops after my players attempted to rob one of them. Telling them: Well they've all been robbed, someone saw your plan and utilised it against all the shops.
Thus, you very rarely barter with magic lewts in my campaigns, mainly because it is silly, but that means I use the gp price only as a guideline to how much lewt they should have.

I should perhaps start having magic shops utilising ring gates.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 27, 2010, 03:07:53 AM
A lot of people feel the way you do, which is why I try not to assume endless magic shops are available.  But if such shop was available, it would have to have enough security that it wouldn't be robbed within a day.

So, a basic magic shop would actually be located somewhere else... inside a random mountain in the infinite plane of Ysgard for example.  Or perhaps in Mechanicus, so that local law enforcement is actually a really nasty golem.  It then establishes store fronts in major metropolises (and having such a store would be a huge income boost for the local metropolis, so they'd be obliged to help protect it).  Use portals to connect the back room of the store to the main warehouse, but keep them small, and perhaps make them a sort of portal that can't pass anything living through them.  Illusions on the walls advertise the merchandise, and while the local shop keepers may actually be human or whatever the dominant race is in the area, they don't keep any actual merchandise or gold in the store.  When a customer buys an item, they pass the appropriate amount of wealth through the portal along with an appropriate coded note indicating what item is to be purchased.  On the other side of this, workers (likely unseen servants, golems, etc) process the order after a quick check is made on the incoming money to ensure it's not counterfeit.  However, the order must make sense... if a single gold piece comes through ordering a +5 sword, they know something is wrong and they contact local law enforcement to come check it out. 

Basically, a Magic Mart is actually a lot closer to a major corporation today than a little mom and pop shop.  Which makes a lot more sense than the idea that some 5th level Expert has billions of gp in merchandise just sitting around defenseless.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 27, 2010, 04:23:09 AM
So, magic mart discussion aside...  :p

I'm still a little iffy on how powerful the ability to create your own magic items IS, exactly. I don't find it particularly game-breaking, except as a  :fu to DMs that are stingy with loot and stingier with magic shops. I'm sure it can be twisted to absurd levels of brokenness (such as Tsuyoshikentsu's Imperial Star Destroyer, for example) but how powerful IS it, really, considering that aside from Artificers (who can make portable holes into magic item microwaves) pretty much anyone needs large-ish amounts of downtime for crafting?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 27, 2010, 05:05:42 AM
It's as powerful as spells (since you can make a scroll of anything), but requires huge amounts of prep time (since you have to craft the stupid thing).  Plus some of the non combat items are off the charts as far as what they can do (craft a Candle of Invocation?  What about an Eternal Wand of anything particularly useful?). If it were your only powerful ability it wouldn't be enough (see Warlocks down in T4), but the ability to have any spell you want if you have suitable time to prepare is pretty ridiculous when combined with the Binder's ability to also have all the low level utility spells pretty much whenever (via the right Summons, at least if they're common enough spells).  But again, that's only going to work when you have prep time.  When you don't, it's not so great.  So, sometimes it's ridiculous, and sometimes not so much.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 27, 2010, 02:42:06 PM
It's as powerful as spells (since you can make a scroll of anything), but requires huge amounts of prep time (since you have to craft the stupid thing).  Plus some of the non combat items are off the charts as far as what they can do (craft a Candle of Invocation?  What about an Eternal Wand of anything particularly useful?). If it were your only powerful ability it wouldn't be enough (see Warlocks down in T4), but the ability to have any spell you want if you have suitable time to prepare is pretty ridiculous when combined with the Binder's ability to also have all the low level utility spells pretty much whenever (via the right Summons, at least if they're common enough spells).  But again, that's only going to work when you have prep time.  When you don't, it's not so great.  So, sometimes it's ridiculous, and sometimes not so much.

JaronK

In other words, it's more situationally powerful than anything else.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on November 27, 2010, 03:50:49 PM
It's as powerful as spells (since you can make a scroll of anything), but requires huge amounts of prep time (since you have to craft the stupid thing).  Plus some of the non combat items are off the charts as far as what they can do (craft a Candle of Invocation?  What about an Eternal Wand of anything particularly useful?). If it were your only powerful ability it wouldn't be enough (see Warlocks down in T4), but the ability to have any spell you want if you have suitable time to prepare is pretty ridiculous when combined with the Binder's ability to also have all the low level utility spells pretty much whenever (via the right Summons, at least if they're common enough spells).  But again, that's only going to work when you have prep time.  When you don't, it's not so great.  So, sometimes it's ridiculous, and sometimes not so much.

JaronK

In other words, it's more situationally powerful than anything else.
Emphasis on "more".  At the very least, you'll free up feat slots for the party Wizard or Cleric who would otherwise - assuming no Artificer in the party - be the one who likely has to suck it up and burn one or more feats to get the party properly equipped.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 28, 2010, 01:15:21 AM
In other words, it's more situationally powerful than anything else.

Right.  But that could have a big effect on game balance, so it should be factored in.  Combine that with the crazy off the cuff "hey look I can summon a new lower level caster once every four or five rounds, unless ya'all wanted me summoning a unicorn or something" and you've got some serious potential going on there.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on November 28, 2010, 01:58:30 AM
A question I have on the tier system in general: many tiers are defined by "being able to do one thing quite well", "being able to do things better then classes that specialize in the thing", etc.

Is there a definition of thing? How broad or narrow are they?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on November 28, 2010, 04:06:51 AM
A question I have on the tier system in general: many tiers are defined by "being able to do one thing quite well", "being able to do things better then classes that specialize in the thing", etc.

Is there a definition of thing? How broad or narrow are they?
Typically, thing in this instance refers to a party role. This can be scouting, trapfinding, meleeing, utility (things such as fly/invisibility), buffing, ranged combat, and so on and forth. For example, the rogue gets a lot of skill points and sneak attack primarily, right? However, by and large the class doesn't gain any class features that would allow it to deliver sneak attacks more easily, isn't really great at what it does on the skill front (Factotums outshine the rogue in that department any time of the day), is largely useless against crit-immune foes, doesn't melee well (due to low HP, poor to-hit and light armor; also worthy of note is that you cannot flank a creature with ranged attacks, which negates a "safe" source of sneak attack, and thus being poor in melee really hurts), and is mostly useless if there's nothing requiring a skill check. Ergo, it's in a precarious spot tier-wise.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on November 28, 2010, 10:32:05 AM
A question I have on the tier system in general: many tiers are defined by "being able to do one thing quite well", "being able to do things better then classes that specialize in the thing", etc.

Is there a definition of thing? How broad or narrow are they?

As Kuro says, it's a party role, for the most part.  For example, a Barbarian is easy to make really good at hitting stuff in combat really hard.  Killing stuff in melee, mostly.  That's his thing.  If your thing isn't very useful (for example, in combat healing, which is the Healer's specialty) you're lower... if it's generally useful (hitting stuff, handling the usual skillmonkey stuff) you're a bit higher.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mushroom on December 09, 2010, 07:38:28 AM
Someone mind explaining a tad bit better as to what of those three situation that the Dread Necromancer can't do?

1. A DN and its minions can easily get through traps(minions being disposable) and kill a dragon.
2.DNs are armies in their own right past level 8
3.The social situations is where I see they would have problems with, but they're a CHA class with powerful fear abilities and bluff/intimidate. Intimidate is an awesome counterpart to diplomacy.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tenebrus on December 09, 2010, 07:53:05 AM
A friend asked why Fighter is lower than Ranger.  I suggested the answer is that the Ranger has a broader ability to solve problems while a Fighter just kills things.  A fighter might kill things better, but that's all they do.  The Ranger gets a companion, tracking, better skills, more skill points, etc.  Am I getting how the Tier system works?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 09, 2010, 12:52:52 PM
Someone mind explaining a tad bit better as to what of those three situation that the Dread Necromancer can't do?

1. A DN and its minions can easily get through traps(minions being disposable) and kill a dragon.
2.DNs are armies in their own right past level 8
3.The social situations is where I see they would have problems with, but they're a CHA class with powerful fear abilities and bluff/intimidate. Intimidate is an awesome counterpart to diplomacy.

The dragon thing is just one example.  But DNs have few social skills (Bluff on a CHA class is nice, and Intimidate has uses, but neither are good if you want to be long term allies with whoever you're dealing with).  Stealth is an issue, as they lack Move Silently and while they do have Hide, their minions are usually completely incapable of stealth (and the better minions are usually too big to just throw in a portable hole).  They're also very dependent on finding the right stuff to raise... if the DM isn't throwing hydras and giants at you, that can be an issue (I know it has been for me!).  Most undead you can make until you get Create Undead is just a speed bump anyway, with lots of HP but generally poor attack power.  There are exceptions... but only if the DM gives you the right stuff to fight.  Spend a while fighting humanoids or really anything with class levels and the zombies/skeletons you could create are just plain sub par. 

Now, you've still got a few solid spells to work with (Evard's Tentacles, for example, is quite nice).  But you generally don't have the really powerful ones (Planar Binding you have, but not Magic Circle or Dimensional Anchor, so it takes a lot of work to actually break that), nor have you got seriously potent undead unless the DM handed it to you. 

End result... you're solid in a lot of situations, with enough abilities that in most any situation you've got at least something useful.  But you're not really game breaking unless you really work for it.  And that's basically what Tier 3 is.  You can be useful in any situation, but you've got weaknesses too.  You're unlikely to just break the game, nor are you likely to be completely useless.

@Tenebrus:  Yeah, basically.  The Fighter is good at combat.  That's cool, but that's it (generally).  And at higher levels, they start to become quite poor even at that unless you optimize them quite significantly.  The Ranger, however, is going to be useful in more than just combat, and they can be quite good at combat too.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Prime32 on December 09, 2010, 11:40:04 PM
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0764.html
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on December 10, 2010, 12:25:35 AM
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0764.html

Nothing beats Tier envy!   :lol
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 10, 2010, 12:52:36 AM
Just outta curiosity since even this repost is still getting bumped (and your still interested in it, ie posting) why didn't you include the extra base class categorizations I did? It would be nice to have all base classes listed after all...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 10, 2010, 01:34:28 AM
Ah, I just saw that OOTS!  I feel all special.  And Rich was one of the primary designers for one of my favorite classes too...

And yeah, I just forgot to update it.  One of those "man, I should get around to this" sorts of things.  But I get distracted easily.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 12:46:58 AM
Just outta curiosity since even this repost is still getting bumped (and your still interested in it, ie posting) why didn't you include the extra base class categorizations I did? It would be nice to have all base classes listed after all...
Is there a link to this?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Littha on December 14, 2010, 01:05:10 AM
Someone mind explaining a tad bit better as to what of those three situation that the Dread Necromancer can't do?

1. A DN and its minions can easily get through traps(minions being disposable) and kill a dragon.
2.DNs are armies in their own right past level 8
3.The social situations is where I see they would have problems with, but they're a CHA class with powerful fear abilities and bluff/intimidate. Intimidate is an awesome counterpart to diplomacy.
The dragon thing is just one example.  But DNs have few social skills (Bluff on a CHA class is nice, and Intimidate has uses, but neither are good if you want to be long term allies with whoever you're dealing with).  Stealth is an issue, as they lack Move Silently and while they do have Hide, their minions are usually completely incapable of stealth (and the better minions are usually too big to just throw in a portable hole).  

Shadows can be quite sneaky
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 01:30:22 AM
I think people are underestimating divine mind. If you compare it to a warrior or samurai it comes out quite a bit better. It has +1 to damage and a +2 on will saves compared to the samurai and another 1 hp compared to the warrior. It also gives a +1 to hit and damage to adjacent allies.


Go to level 20 and its +6 on will save, 5 on damage and AC and every other round it can get a different bonus when its not his turn. This is opposed by a fourth iterative attack, improved initiative and the samurais staredown and a class feature that is going to encourage a bad build. And quick draw, for when thats useful.

Not even going into the powers or domain powers on this.

Then depending on build it has other things that it might be able to do. Maybe a +1 deflection bonus to AC or the ability to split the damage with an attacker.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 14, 2010, 02:06:50 AM
I think people are underestimating divine mind. If you compare it to a warrior or samurai it comes out quite a bit better. It has +1 to damage and a +2 on will saves compared to the samurai and another 1 hp compared to the warrior. It also gives a +1 to hit and damage to adjacent allies.


Go to level 20 and its +6 on will save, 5 on damage and AC and every other round it can get a different bonus when its not his turn. This is opposed by a fourth iterative attack, improved initiative and the samurais staredown and a class feature that is going to encourage a bad build. And quick draw, for when thats useful.

Not even going into the powers or domain powers on this.

Then depending on build it has other things that it might be able to do. Maybe a +1 deflection bonus to AC or the ability to split the damage with an attacker.



Let's be frank, at level 20, how significant ARE those bonuses, really?

+5 to damage? Throw in some multipliers, though as a baseline you want about twenty times as much. +5 to AC? AC stopped mattering ten levels ago, if not more. At that point, for the numbers to matter, they better be HIGH.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 14, 2010, 02:11:34 AM
Shadows can be quite sneaky

Sadly, you can't create them until well past the time when they'd be useful to you (for the most part), so at that point you're relying on the DM just sending them to you gift wrapped.  That seems... unlikely, unless the DM doesn't realize what's obviously about to happen.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on December 14, 2010, 02:18:13 AM
I think people are underestimating divine mind. If you compare it to a warrior or samurai it comes out quite a bit better. It has +1 to damage and a +2 on will saves compared to the samurai and another 1 hp compared to the warrior. It also gives a +1 to hit and damage to adjacent allies.


Go to level 20 and its +6 on will save, 5 on damage and AC and every other round it can get a different bonus when its not his turn. This is opposed by a fourth iterative attack, improved initiative and the samurais staredown and a class feature that is going to encourage a bad build. And quick draw, for when thats useful.

Not even going into the powers or domain powers on this.

Then depending on build it has other things that it might be able to do. Maybe a +1 deflection bonus to AC or the ability to split the damage with an attacker.

Those bonuses mean nothing. Their class features have no relevance, and their Manifester Level is too low to actually make their powers useful past 7th level.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 02:34:10 AM

Let's be frank, at level 20, how significant ARE those bonuses, really?

+5 to damage? Throw in some multipliers, though as a baseline you want about twenty times as much. +5 to AC? AC stopped mattering ten levels ago, if not more. At that point, for the numbers to matter, they better be HIGH.
It is also giving its allies +5 to hit, and AC means that the enemies would be hitting you 25% less if you are still are on the random scale. And at this level they actually have 3 auras so its +5 to initiative, spot and listen.

What would you rather have, the samurai who can make the person who isn't immune to fear frightened, or a +5 bonus to several abilities?

I'm sure many classes would love to have a +5 bonus to those stats. The +5 to hit and damage can turn into +15 damage with power attack, with 3 or 4 hits that adds up to quite a bit.

Those bonuses mean nothing. Their class features have no relevance, and their Manifester Level is too low to actually make their powers useful past 7th level.
The Divine Mind is not a half caster like the paladin or ranger. It is caster level-4 which means that it has the same caster level as a psion if it takes practiced manifester. Which means that it can do several things just as well as it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Havok4 on December 14, 2010, 02:46:07 AM
Shadows can be quite sneaky

Sadly, you can't create them until well past the time when they'd be useful to you (for the most part), so at that point you're relying on the DM just sending them to you gift wrapped.  That seems... unlikely, unless the DM doesn't realize what's obviously about to happen.

JaronK

You can summon shadows using summon undead and than rebuke the spawn they create. At level 10 they would still be useful.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on December 14, 2010, 02:49:37 AM
Even at high levels they're still useful suckers.

You just need a few more of them against some foes.  It's not like they aren't easily replaceable anyway.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Havok4 on December 14, 2010, 03:18:31 AM
Although getting a ready supply of sacrificial victims could be difficult in a non-evil campaign, but DN have issues there already. And if there are enough enemies you might have difficulty controlling them. They still make great things to rebuke, low HD, nice special abilities, and they are hard to kill.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 14, 2010, 03:18:53 AM

Let's be frank, at level 20, how significant ARE those bonuses, really?

+5 to damage? Throw in some multipliers, though as a baseline you want about twenty times as much. +5 to AC? AC stopped mattering ten levels ago, if not more. At that point, for the numbers to matter, they better be HIGH.
It is also giving its allies +5 to hit, and AC means that the enemies would be hitting you 25% less if you are still are on the random scale. And at this level they actually have 3 auras so its +5 to initiative, spot and listen.

What would you rather have, the samurai who can make the person who isn't immune to fear frightened, or a +5 bonus to several abilities?

I'm sure many classes would love to have a +5 bonus to those stats. The +5 to hit and damage can turn into +15 damage with power attack, with 3 or 4 hits that adds up to quite a bit.

Those bonuses mean nothing. Their class features have no relevance, and their Manifester Level is too low to actually make their powers useful past 7th level.
The Divine Mind is not a half caster like the paladin or ranger. It is caster level-4 which means that it has the same caster level as a psion if it takes practiced manifester. Which means that it can do several things just as well as it.

Meanwhile, the properly built bard is giving his allies +12 to hit/damage and +12d6 (enter energy damage of choice here) per attack, and he's barely even trying in that Inspire Courage isn't the only buff he can throw up. And that's BEFORE you consider War Weaver, for example.

Just as you can't really use the top as a baseline to define everything (except how close or far to the top it is), you can't use the bottom line, either. Granted, it's still relatively better than a CW Samurai, but not by so much that it's a different order of magnitude.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 03:34:58 AM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 14, 2010, 03:44:42 AM
You can summon shadows using summon undead and than rebuke the spawn they create. At level 10 they would still be useful.

Huh, hadn't thought of that.  At what level can you use Summon Undead to get Shadows?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Littha on December 14, 2010, 03:47:14 AM
You can summon shadows using summon undead and than rebuke the spawn they create. At level 10 they would still be useful.

Huh, hadn't thought of that.  At what level can you use Summon Undead to get Shadows?

JaronK

5th level spell, so level 10.


If you really needed it I suppose you could get a scroll or wand though.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on December 14, 2010, 03:55:37 AM
Right, so I'll stick with the idea that for a long time there you're going to have trouble with stealth as a DN, due to the vast majority of available minions being rather poor at it.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Littha on December 14, 2010, 04:06:53 AM
Right, so I'll stick with the idea that for a long time there you're going to have trouble with stealth as a DN, due to the vast majority of available minions being rather poor at it.

JaronK

You can also get ghouls with summon undead 3, they have ranks in move silently and hide and are intelligent enough to scout. Plus they create spawn, possibly even ghasts.

The issue here is getting people to die of the disease and not their attacks.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 04:08:28 AM
Got ninja'd again, but getting people to die of diseases is pretty simple. But its not pretty and its definitely evil.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Littha on December 14, 2010, 04:09:53 AM
purposefully turning people into ghouls isnt exactly good anyway.


Also killing a commoner with a negative level will turn them into a wight... which create spawn and have a large move silently bonus.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 14, 2010, 05:42:14 AM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.

Only if people are retarded.

It's just that with the Fighter you can at least CHOOSE one of the six ways from Thursday that you'll suck.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 05:34:08 PM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.

Only if people are retarded.

It's just that with the Fighter you can at least CHOOSE one of the six ways from Thursday that you'll suck.
Its only +4 to hit and damage with the bard base. So the aura is actually better when not optimized.
I fail to see how being able to choose how you suck makes a class deserve to be a higher tier.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 14, 2010, 06:37:51 PM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.

Only if people are retarded.

It's just that with the Fighter you can at least CHOOSE one of the six ways from Thursday that you'll suck.
Its only +4 to hit and damage with the bard base. So the aura is actually better when not optimized.
I fail to see how being able to choose how you suck makes a class deserve to be a higher tier.

Indeed you do. But you can't actually improve on the aura, unlike with Inspire Courage.

Let's put it this way. Take a Warmage. At its core, it's a blaster. Even counting its class features (no RS) all it does is a single thing, albeit in several flavors. So all things considered, it actually has SOME alternatives for different situations (though all of them are a different flavor of X). Likewise, the fighter has the means to specialize in more than one school of offensive thought (or countering), so when your Gatling Tripper is up against a Colossal enemy, at least he (probably) still has Power Attack handy. It makes him suck less, though not necessarily rock at anything.

Really, what are the Divine Mind's options? How different from a subpar buffer can he get?

Comparing him to a Psion with Practiced Manifester is not exactly fair to him either. First, he needs to set a feat on fire. Second, he doesn't get as many tricks out of the bag that the Psion does. Heck, he practically doesn't get ANY tricks.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 14, 2010, 07:24:47 PM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.

Only if people are retarded.

It's just that with the Fighter you can at least CHOOSE one of the six ways from Thursday that you'll suck.
Its only +4 to hit and damage with the bard base. So the aura is actually better when not optimized.
I fail to see how being able to choose how you suck makes a class deserve to be a higher tier.

Indeed you do. But you can't actually improve on the aura, unlike with Inspire Courage.

Let's put it this way. Take a Warmage. At its core, it's a blaster. Even counting its class features (no RS) all it does is a single thing, albeit in several flavors. So all things considered, it actually has SOME alternatives for different situations (though all of them are a different flavor of X). Likewise, the fighter has the means to specialize in more than one school of offensive thought (or countering), so when your Gatling Tripper is up against a Colossal enemy, at least he (probably) still has Power Attack handy. It makes him suck less, though not necessarily rock at anything.

Really, what are the Divine Mind's options? How different from a subpar buffer can he get?

Comparing him to a Psion with Practiced Manifester is not exactly fair to him either. First, he needs to set a feat on fire. Second, he doesn't get as many tricks out of the bag that the Psion does. Heck, he practically doesn't get ANY tricks.
I agree that it isn't exactly fair, but I'm not trying to say that he's tier 2, or 3, or even 4. I'm saying that it is more of a tier 5. Maybe even low Tier 5. He is pretty much better than the samurai who is high T6, before adding in his powers.

 The 9 powers that it gets, no matter how bad he does them, should still leave him with some options. Compare him to the marshal or dragon shaman. It might not be as good, but its not going to be far behind. 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: RobbyPants on December 15, 2010, 04:36:45 AM
Ah, I just saw that OOTS!  I feel all special.  And Rich was one of the primary designers for one of my favorite classes too...

And yeah, I just forgot to update it.  One of those "man, I should get around to this" sorts of things.  But I get distracted easily.

JaronK
Looks like I'm several days behind!  I stopped reading in that panel just to link it (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0764.html)!
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 15, 2010, 02:22:05 PM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.

Only if people are retarded.

It's just that with the Fighter you can at least CHOOSE one of the six ways from Thursday that you'll suck.
Its only +4 to hit and damage with the bard base. So the aura is actually better when not optimized.
I fail to see how being able to choose how you suck makes a class deserve to be a higher tier.

Indeed you do. But you can't actually improve on the aura, unlike with Inspire Courage.

Let's put it this way. Take a Warmage. At its core, it's a blaster. Even counting its class features (no RS) all it does is a single thing, albeit in several flavors. So all things considered, it actually has SOME alternatives for different situations (though all of them are a different flavor of X). Likewise, the fighter has the means to specialize in more than one school of offensive thought (or countering), so when your Gatling Tripper is up against a Colossal enemy, at least he (probably) still has Power Attack handy. It makes him suck less, though not necessarily rock at anything.

Really, what are the Divine Mind's options? How different from a subpar buffer can he get?

Comparing him to a Psion with Practiced Manifester is not exactly fair to him either. First, he needs to set a feat on fire. Second, he doesn't get as many tricks out of the bag that the Psion does. Heck, he practically doesn't get ANY tricks.
I agree that it isn't exactly fair, but I'm not trying to say that he's tier 2, or 3, or even 4. I'm saying that it is more of a tier 5. Maybe even low Tier 5. He is pretty much better than the samurai who is high T6, before adding in his powers.

 The 9 powers that it gets, no matter how bad he does them, should still leave him with some options. Compare him to the marshal or dragon shaman. It might not be as good, but its not going to be far behind. 

Well, it's not like being better than the CW Samurai is THAT hard. He still doesn't compare to a Fighter, but I'd say he's pretty low on the power scale, even for Tier 5.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 15, 2010, 03:47:51 PM
I thought the hit/damage and d6 were exclusive of each  other? It is way higher than base, which is +5 hit and damage like the aura is.

And thats fine, I'm comparing it to the bottom because that is where people put it. I think it should be higher than T6, T4 would likely be too high unless the power list that I haven't really looked at is way better than what it looks like at 1st glance.

So, I'm saying that it should be in the same tier as the Fighter and Healer.

Only if people are retarded.

It's just that with the Fighter you can at least CHOOSE one of the six ways from Thursday that you'll suck.
Its only +4 to hit and damage with the bard base. So the aura is actually better when not optimized.
I fail to see how being able to choose how you suck makes a class deserve to be a higher tier.

Indeed you do. But you can't actually improve on the aura, unlike with Inspire Courage.

Let's put it this way. Take a Warmage. At its core, it's a blaster. Even counting its class features (no RS) all it does is a single thing, albeit in several flavors. So all things considered, it actually has SOME alternatives for different situations (though all of them are a different flavor of X). Likewise, the fighter has the means to specialize in more than one school of offensive thought (or countering), so when your Gatling Tripper is up against a Colossal enemy, at least he (probably) still has Power Attack handy. It makes him suck less, though not necessarily rock at anything.

Really, what are the Divine Mind's options? How different from a subpar buffer can he get?

Comparing him to a Psion with Practiced Manifester is not exactly fair to him either. First, he needs to set a feat on fire. Second, he doesn't get as many tricks out of the bag that the Psion does. Heck, he practically doesn't get ANY tricks.
I agree that it isn't exactly fair, but I'm not trying to say that he's tier 2, or 3, or even 4. I'm saying that it is more of a tier 5. Maybe even low Tier 5. He is pretty much better than the samurai who is high T6, before adding in his powers.

 The 9 powers that it gets, no matter how bad he does them, should still leave him with some options. Compare him to the marshal or dragon shaman. It might not be as good, but its not going to be far behind. 

Well, it's not like being better than the CW Samurai is THAT hard. He still doesn't compare to a Fighter, but I'd say he's pretty low on the power scale, even for Tier 5.
True, but CW Samurai is kind of the pinnacle of T6. I'm thinking that the DM would be kind of a mix between the fighter and a healer. Not as good as the fighter in combat, but better than the healer. Not as the good as the healer as outside utility, but better than the fighter.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on December 15, 2010, 10:44:07 PM
The divine mind is kinda like if the fighter and healer had a baby and decided to drop it on its head multiple times.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on December 15, 2010, 10:44:41 PM
The divine mind is kinda like if the fighter and healer had a baby and decided to drop it on its head multiple times.
Best quote I've read all day.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on December 15, 2010, 11:10:25 PM
The divine mind is kinda like if the fighter and healer had a baby and decided to drop it on its head multiple times.
:lmao
+1 internetz for ninjarabbit.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on December 16, 2010, 12:01:50 AM
The divine mind is kinda like if the fighter and healer had a baby and decided to drop it on its head multiple times.

:rofl

We now know why its a Psionic class. It's special.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on December 16, 2010, 04:13:40 AM
The divine mind is kinda like if the fighter and healer had a baby and decided to drop it on its head multiple times.

:rofl

We now know why its a Psionic class. It's special.
Idiot savant without the savant.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on December 17, 2010, 04:31:29 AM
The fighter can be optimized, the healer can be optimized, most of the tier 5 classes can be optimized to a degree. Even with heavy optimization the divine mind is still a gigantic piece of turd that has no place in even a tier 4 party.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on December 17, 2010, 04:40:21 AM
The fighter can be optimized, the healer can be optimized, most of the tier 5 classes can be optimized to a degree. Even with heavy optimization the divine mind is still a gigantic piece of turd that has no place in even a tier 4 party.
I disagree. Divine Minds still get 6th level powers, have the option of a Psicrystal and can do pretty much anything a Fighter can.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on December 17, 2010, 04:43:06 AM
The divine mind is basically a psionic NPC class. Vaguely useful, but not by much.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 18, 2010, 05:37:05 AM
This might be true, but NPC classes run from T6-T4. I don't think its as good as the adept, but it does get access to some nice things like suggestion, metamorphosis, Planeshift, Astral Construct, Fabricate, a couple of Save or Sucks, and a couple of other things.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on December 18, 2010, 05:38:12 AM
nice things like suggestion, metamorphosis, Planeshift, Astral Construct, Fabricate, a couple of Save or Sucks, and a couple of other things.
Exactly. It gets them late but these alone power it over the Fighter any day of the week.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on December 18, 2010, 05:56:39 AM
nice things like suggestion, metamorphosis, Planeshift, Astral Construct, Fabricate, a couple of Save or Sucks, and a couple of other things.
Exactly. It gets them late but these alone power it over the Fighter any day of the week.
Not really.  The power of Metamorphosis and other effects like it is that it lets a pure caster take the role of a front-liner.  Put in the hands of a Divine Mind, who is already a front-liner and not much of a manifester at all, and you just have an above-par buffing power.  Add to that the fact that a Divine Mind has to burn a feat just to be as effective as a Psion in using his paltry array of powers, and that he lacks enough PP to use them very often at all and you have a shit class.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 19, 2010, 11:07:02 AM
I would like to say that Tier 5 is still pretty shitty, I mean its the tier for the monk and swashbuckler.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: jeco on December 25, 2010, 10:08:11 AM
Q:  My players want to play classes of wildly different Tiers.  What can I do about this?


It terms of balancing the tiers, has any one ever tried implementing a tier based XP bonus/penalty? If so, what type of XP curve have you tried?

It seems like it could be an effective approach. Lower tiers would progress through levels quicker and gain more class features and such. On the other hand, since the higher tiers can do so much anyway, being behind a few levels isn't really going to over penalize them.




Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Garryl on December 25, 2010, 10:13:21 AM
People have thought about it before. Check out this (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10388.0) for an idea similar to what you're talking about.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 25, 2010, 05:25:15 PM
Sounds like it would work pretty decently in theory. I imagine a 20th level adept, hexblade, spell thief, ranger, bard, and divine mind are  on  par with or better than a level 10 wizard or cleric.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 26, 2010, 12:42:47 AM
It SOUNDS like it would work in theory. I'm skeptical because the higher the levels get, the more higher tier powers are required. A Fighter 20 isn't going to be much help navigating a Balor's magic-trap-filled fortress.

A friend of mine has theorized that by eliminating spells of 6th level and above you eliminate a lot of problems in D&D. Unfortunately, he didn't realize that creates just as many...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on December 26, 2010, 12:54:43 AM
Every spell level has its broken and game-changing spells, even a wizard with only 1st and 2nd level spells could give most non-magical characters problems.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on December 26, 2010, 01:42:49 AM
Every spell level has its broken and game-changing spells, even a wizard with only 1st and 2nd level spells could give most non-magical characters problems.

This is somewhat true. Basically, no matter what spell levels you remove, you're still going to have to remove or nerf some spells from lower levels, just because there are so many spells published and you only need a few broken spells at each level before the wizard can fill up his slots with them.

On the other hand, with lower level spells, making the game unplayable for non-spellcasters is not yet the baseline, but rather the outliers on the spell spectrum. The number of spells you need to remove to make the game continue running smoothly on the basis of removed spells alone increases with each higher spell level, and above a certain point (you can make arguments for anywhere from fifth to seventh level spells) the number of spells you need to remove or fix becomes so many that you might as well chop spells from there on up out entirely.

With low-level spells you have to go out of your way to make non-spellcasters unplayable. With high-level spells you have to go out of your way not to.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on December 26, 2010, 07:34:36 AM
Q:  My players want to play classes of wildly different Tiers.  What can I do about this?


It terms of balancing the tiers, has any one ever tried implementing a tier based XP bonus/penalty? If so, what type of XP curve have you tried?

It seems like it could be an effective approach. Lower tiers would progress through levels quicker and gain more class features and such. On the other hand, since the higher tiers can do so much anyway, being behind a few levels isn't really going to over penalize them.


The problem with that is twofold:
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 26, 2010, 07:38:33 AM
Just outta curiosity since even this repost is still getting bumped (and your still interested in it, ie posting) why didn't you include the extra base class categorizations I did? It would be nice to have all base classes listed after all...
Is there a link to this?
ardent (3)
Battledancer (5)
deathmaster (2)
divine mind (5)
dragon shaman (5)
dragonfire adept (4 with but slightly lower than warlocks)
eidolon (5)
eidoloncer (variable like a PrC, but technically a ghost only non ECL1 base class. Without casting to advance 6)
jester (high 4)
incarnate (3)
lurk (Definately tier 5. I wish they could actually do something)
montebank (4)
mystic (Tier 2, one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a favored soul minus the umph)
noble (Tier 5=weak sauce bard without the spells)
savant (low 4)
Sha'ir (2, but ... strange)
shadowcaster (4)
shugenja (3)
sohei (4)
soulborn (5)
spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed)
totemist (4?)
Wilder (low 2, wishes it could be a psion)

Like Jaron said most every seperate variant is in the same tier, including:[spoiler]
bardic sage
battle sorcerer
cloistered cleric
divine bard
domain wizard
druidic avenger
paladin of freedom, slaughter, tyranny and the Drag Mag ones
psionic artificer
savage bard
urban adept
thug
totem barbarian [UA kind]
urban ranger[/spoiler]
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tenebrus on December 26, 2010, 06:08:52 PM
Every spell level has its broken and game-changing spells, even a wizard with only 1st and 2nd level spells could give most non-magical characters problems.
On the other hand, with lower level spells, making the game unplayable for non-spellcasters is not yet the baseline, but rather the outliers on the spell spectrum. The number of spells you need to remove to make the game continue running smoothly on the basis of removed spells alone increases with each higher spell level, and above a certain point (you can make arguments for anywhere from fifth to seventh level spells) the number of spells you need to remove or fix becomes so many that you might as well chop spells from there on up out entirely.

I'm sure this can generate a spirited discussion, but has someone attempted a list of "Most Egregious Spells by Level?"  And if several someones have, is there a favored list?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on December 26, 2010, 07:45:31 PM
Treanmonk's excellent guide to being a wizard god and evaluation of thevarious school's is a great place to start.

http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=394.0
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 27, 2010, 06:45:38 PM
Just outta curiosity since even this repost is still getting bumped (and your still interested in it, ie posting) why didn't you include the extra base class categorizations I did? It would be nice to have all base classes listed after all...
Is there a link to this?
ardent (3)
Battledancer (5)
deathmaster (2)
divine mind (5)
dragon shaman (5)
dragonfire adept (4 with but slightly lower than warlocks)
eidolon (5)
eidoloncer (variable like a PrC, but technically a ghost only non ECL1 base class. Without casting to advance 6)
jester (high 4)
incarnate (3)
lurk (Definately tier 5. I wish they could actually do something)
montebank (4)
mystic (Tier 2, one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a favored soul minus the umph)
noble (Tier 5=weak sauce bard without the spells)
savant (low 4)
Sha'ir (2, but ... strange)
shadowcaster (4)
shugenja (3)
sohei (4)
soulborn (5)
spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed)
totemist (4?)
Wilder (low 2, wishes it could be a psion)
I would put totemist, spirit shaman and dragon shaman up 1 and sohei down 1, but other than that it looks kind of good.

Quote
Like Jaron said most every seperate variant is in the same tier, including:[spoiler]
bardic sage
battle sorcerer
cloistered cleric
divine bard
domain wizard
druidic avenger
paladin of freedom, slaughter, tyranny and the Drag Mag ones
psionic artificer
savage bard
urban adept
thug
totem barbarian [UA kind]
urban ranger[/spoiler]
I think some of those could be noted as being higher or lower in the tier that they already were in, like domain wizard which is something for nothing IIRC.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on December 27, 2010, 09:59:15 PM
Eh, the difference really isn't significant for domain wizard.  Yeah, something for nothing, but compared to the raw power you already have, it doesn't matter too much.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on December 28, 2010, 12:34:32 AM
Eh, the difference really isn't significant for domain wizard.  Yeah, something for nothing, but compared to the raw power you already have, it doesn't matter too much.

It's like you already had extra frosting on your cake then added MORE frosting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on December 28, 2010, 12:35:57 AM
Eh, the difference really isn't significant for domain wizard.  Yeah, something for nothing, but compared to the raw power you already have, it doesn't matter too much.

It's like you already had extra frosting on your cake then added MORE frosting.
Dude. It was a layer-cake made of frosting. With extra frosting and a side of frosting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Shadowhunter on December 28, 2010, 01:44:37 AM
Yo dawg, I heard U like frosting...

A question though.
Which Domain is the best one?
Or which are the better ones?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on December 28, 2010, 02:50:11 AM
Luck is a pretty good domain.  Its power is excellent and spells are all pretty good (although the 9th is useless for Clerics).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Shadowhunter on December 28, 2010, 02:57:48 AM
I'm talking aboutDomain Wizards (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#wizardVariantDomainWizard) domains here.
I'm leaning towards Transmutation. Solid spells all levels (Iron Body is so-so), even a good cantrip.
If it weren't for Mind Blank, Enchantment Domain looks really good as well.
Conjuration have good ones too, but I think Transmutation is a tad better.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Prime32 on December 28, 2010, 03:52:00 AM
Question: what tier is this (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10511)?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on December 28, 2010, 04:00:13 AM
Question: what tier is this (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10511)?

high tier 4/low tier 3 leaning more towards tier 4

Honestly most of the abilities are crap. The thing that makes it good having all skills as class skills with 8 skill points/level but I'd still rather be a factotum since the factotum has some sort of spellcasting and useful class abilities.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on December 28, 2010, 04:01:07 AM
One feat gets you wizard+ casting.  I'd say tier 1 from that, for the same reason that druids are assumed to take natural spell.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 28, 2010, 12:37:46 PM
Without SotAO: Tier 3, and IMHO pretty solidly. The bonus feats alone turn it into something at least as good as a Barb, and it has a ton of skill points and other stuff, and it's plenty abusable.

It would be interesting to see how this would fare in a Tier 3+ party.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nytemare3701 on December 28, 2010, 12:43:59 PM
If I can get permission from a DM, I'd play it. Anyone have a PbP they want one of these in?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on December 29, 2010, 02:44:35 AM
Ty. Can I get second opinions on spirit shaman (a favorite of mine), dragon shaman and sohei? I'll adjust accordingly
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Iskajir on December 29, 2010, 06:39:54 AM
Quote
Ty. Can I get second opinions on spirit shaman (a favorite of mine), dragon shaman and sohei? I'll adjust accordingly

Spirit Shaman is on the high end of 2. Dragon Shaman probably solidly a 4. Sohei more like bottom end of Tier 4, or in 5.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 29, 2010, 10:39:01 AM
I like to think of Spirit Shaman as low tier 1 ;)

 Sohei is really is tier 5. Compare it to a paladin and it isn't coming out a head in much. Its likely coming up short in more.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on December 29, 2010, 12:06:03 PM
Spirit Shaman is solidly Tier 2.  The druid spell list alone isn't really enough to make it Tier 1, and even then the Spirit Shaman has much more limited access to it than the Druid does at any given time.  The Druid is Tier 1 not just because of it's spellcasting ability, but moreso because of it's ability to cast those spells while safely behind it's animal companion and wild-shaped.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on December 29, 2010, 05:10:03 PM
Actually the druid is T1 because of its spell casting.
The shifter variant remains T1, so the S.Shaman should also be T1.

The power difference between those two is pretty insignificant.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on December 29, 2010, 05:27:49 PM
Actually the druid is T1 because of its spell casting.
The shifter variant remains T1, so the S.Shaman should also be T1.

The power difference between those two is pretty insignificant.

I disagree. Druid spellcasting is the least powerful of all the major casters - it has less scrying, less mobility, and less outright cheating (Miracle, etc.). The Druid was always Tier 1 due to the total package, and losing key elements significantly reduces its power. I think a shapeshifter variant druid is hardly Tier 1 anymore because it lacks two all-important aspects - significant combat forms, and the AC. IMHO the shifter druid - and the Spirit Shaman - are at most Tier 2, and only due to the large, multi-splatted spell list.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on December 29, 2010, 05:50:12 PM
I was always under the impression that what made the Big Three spell lists T1 is that they got expanded with pretty much every dang sourcebook that came out, to the point where for any given situation the Big Three spell lists will each have an answer in some book somewhere. The druid is the weakest of those three lists, but it still has this quality of ridiculous overexpansion and I think it's reasonable to estimate it as a low T1 on casting alone, even without the companion and wild shape.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on December 29, 2010, 07:36:23 PM
Wizards are massively high tier 1 even in just Core due to their spell list. Core contains most of their best-of-the-best spells.

Druids are mid-high tier 1 due to the whole package, even in Core; take out any two major class features (spellcasting, animal companion, or wild shape) and they're a high (really high) tier 3.

Clerics...well, they're definitely tier 1 with everything allowed. I don't play around with them much, but I do believe they're low tier 1 in a Core-only environment just because of how versatile and powerful their spells are (also see domains).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 06, 2011, 01:16:42 AM
I guess this gets into what it takes to be tier 1-2.

So what amounts to a beefed up feat and the ability to be decent in melee drops the druid a tier and a halfish?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on January 06, 2011, 03:44:54 AM
Tier 3 is, in its own way, more powerful than tier 2. Tier 2 is capable of breaking the game in a very few ways, though outside of those few ways it might be pretty useless. Tier 3s are useful in damned near every situation you can think of, and are basically never rendered moot in any situation.

It's not that the druid 'drops' two tiers as much as the fact that it moves over to the side and down a bit.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 06, 2011, 03:51:58 AM
Well, it's more that tier 2 encompasses any character class with a limited gamebreaking trick.  A tier 6 class could become tier 2 with the addition of (sp) simulacrum, for example.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 06, 2011, 04:19:12 AM
So that leads to the definition of game breaking trick then.

I've been thinking of them of a binary yes or no abilities like.
Force cage--> Can you teleport? Yes--> Keep playing
 No? Die
 
This is a bit of an over simplification as there are other ways to get out of Forcage, like Disjunction, but the point mostly stands.

Same with things like Gate+reverse teleport, obscene grapple checks, or damage. 

Not all tricks being equal, XP free gate is better than a lot of things, and Forcage+Dimensional Anchor>Forcage.

uber charge is probably the weakest of this sort of thing with it being mitigated by miss chance, stopped by bad terrain, jaunt, high AC, some feat chains, reach, a level 1 fighter crying,  other things.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 06, 2011, 02:18:43 PM
So that leads to the definition of game breaking trick then.

I've been thinking of them of a binary yes or no abilities like.
Force cage--> Can you teleport? Yes--> Keep playing
 No? Die
 
This is a bit of an over simplification as there are other ways to get out of Forcage, like Disjunction, but the point mostly stands.

Same with things like Gate+reverse teleport, obscene grapple checks, or damage. 

Not all tricks being equal, XP free gate is better than a lot of things, and Forcage+Dimensional Anchor>Forcage.

uber charge is probably the weakest of this sort of thing with it being mitigated by miss chance, stopped by bad terrain, jaunt, high AC, some feat chains, reach, a level 1 fighter crying,  other things.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with your examples, "game-breaking tricks" can be defined much more broadly than this.  A sizable portion of D&Ders would probably call Power Word: Pain game-breaking at 1st level, while Alter Self and Glitterdust often get the nod as game-breaking 2nd level spells (which are easily attainable at level 1).  One need not skip to the end of the spell levels to find broken, or nigh-broken, stuff.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 06, 2011, 04:23:07 PM
I would put power word pain and launch bolt in the uber damage catagory for there level.

 Glitterdust and Alterself I'm currently putting down as merely overpowered.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on January 07, 2011, 02:51:03 AM
PsyWar + Recharge = hmm ...

I'd say a PsyWar trying to do this would be:
slightly below (psywar) average from levels 1 to 4
below to very below average at level 5, preparing for level 6
recharge at level 6 (!!) , otherwise has a very poor underlying skeleton
lots of possible broken options from level 6 on
starts to recover a decent build underneath the recharge, say around level 11
Fades at the top end, as in unlimited 6s vs. good 8s and 9s
So ...
levels 1 to 5  = Bad
levels 6 to 10 = Hi Tier 1
levels 11 to 15 = possibly very broken
levels 16+ = I'd rather be a full caster

I don't see how overall , this ends up being Tier 1 (overall).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on January 07, 2011, 03:29:55 AM
It doesn't. A recharging Psywar is just at the top end of Tier 3, as before, because he's still only doing Psywar tricks, even if all the time.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on January 07, 2011, 10:31:29 PM
Sweet ... (thread killer ?) ... trying to avoid that.


Turning up the tricks quotient, does put the PsyWar higher.
Lets say:
Normal PsyWar from level 1 to level 6
At level 7 the party Psion fests a PsyRef on the PsyWar
PsyWar 7 as half of a recharge duo, is just one feat.
That's still a good normal PsyWar, but with recharge
Later the Psion 13+ makes Powerstones for the PsyWar to use
above it's normal power level, but still on the PsyWar list = use them.
So ...
levels 1 to 6 = normal Tier 3-ish
levels 7 to 12 = near broken
levels 13+ = Tier 2-ish top end over Tier 1-ish structure

Guesstimating an average of Tier 2, but with a broken buddy.
 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on January 07, 2011, 11:48:02 PM
Sweet ... (thread killer ?) ... trying to avoid that.
Heh, there are places where it's not nice to have the last word  ;).

Quote
Turning up the tricks quotient, does put the PsyWar higher.
Lets say:
Normal PsyWar from level 1 to level 6
At level 7 the party Psion fests a PsyRef on the PsyWar
PsyWar 7 as half of a recharge duo, is just one feat.
That's still a good normal PsyWar, but with recharge
Later the Psion 13+ makes Powerstones for the PsyWar to use
above it's normal power level, but still on the PsyWar list = use them.
So ...
levels 1 to 6 = normal Tier 3-ish
levels 7 to 12 = near broken
levels 13+ = Tier 2-ish top end over Tier 1-ish structure

Guesstimating an average of Tier 2, but with a broken buddy.
 

I'm really having a hard time interpreting this. I'm sure there's satire somewhere in it... I just can't put my thumb on it, exactly.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on January 08, 2011, 12:09:46 PM
Sweet ... (thread killer ?) ... trying to avoid that.
Heh, there are places where it's not nice to have the last word  ;).

Quote
Turning up the tricks quotient, does put the PsyWar higher.
Lets say:
Normal PsyWar from level 1 to level 6
At level 7 the party Psion fests a PsyRef on the PsyWar
PsyWar 7 as half of a recharge duo, is just one feat.
That's still a good normal PsyWar, but with recharge
Later the Psion 13+ makes Powerstones for the PsyWar to use
above it's normal power level, but still on the PsyWar list = use them.
So ...
levels 1 to 6 = normal Tier 3-ish
levels 7 to 12 = near broken
levels 13+ = Tier 2-ish top end over Tier 1-ish structure

Guesstimating an average of Tier 2, but with a broken buddy.
 

I'm really having a hard time interpreting this. I'm sure there's satire somewhere in it... I just can't put my thumb on it, exactly.

He's saying that having a friend makes a PsiWar more powerful (without needing buffs). A Psion can reformat a PsiWar's brain fairly early on, and the PsiWar can complement him by being half of an infinite PP loop.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on January 08, 2011, 10:17:05 PM
Sinfire got me.

I wasn't going for satire (at least I don't think so).

We were close on the first PsyWar build.
The second was an attempt at a better recharge set-up.
Too many 6s on a slightly better build, doesn't do it,
Powerstone based 7s 8s and 9s, have an expensive material component + helper.
Still couldn't pull the Tier 1 tag on the whole thing.
Recharge in the right circumstances isn't that much of a problem.
otoh - a Psion with recharge, has all sorts of problems (which is necessary for the second psywar build).

[comedy]
... and a Divine Mind with a ...
[/comedy]
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on January 10, 2011, 11:07:41 AM
Except it's still a specialised Psywar WITH a Tier 1 friend, which just... isn't the same as just a Psywar.

A recharging Psywar, or an infinicasting one via Incarnum, isn't really above Tier 3, I'm still convinced of that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tyal-Kelvar on January 11, 2011, 04:52:02 AM
This thread is quite a good resource, though I have a few questions about how this information can be used, specifically in terms of balancing character with this information.  Now, I completely understand there is no universal fix for the low tier classes, but to save the complexity of reworking every class, I like the idea of a general house rule that gives benefits based on tier.

Yes, JaronK listed some reasonable options, though options three feels too restrictive and option 4 seems like it'd get a little complex, even if those two are likely the two easiest ways to achieve perfect balance.  Leaving options 1 and 2 he suggested:

1: Varying point buy seems reasonable, but making low tier classes powerful early on and still weak later on doesn't really address the problem.  Would it work to give about the same point buy, and balance it by low tier classes gaining level up attribute points more often?  If so, how often for each teir to have them balanced?

2: The partial gestalt idea actually seems like a fun and simple method... till one actually looks at the result you'd get.  If one gestalts two tier 5 classes, does one really get a result that can  be above tier 4 in power? Does it even result in a tier 4 all the time?  How is that making something like a fighter class playable in a game with tier 1 characters?  Big question is: How can the partial gestalt for balancing be salvaged?
>My best guess at how to salvage this house rule would be to have no tier 1 classes, tier 2s as normal, tier 3 gestalts with NPC, and tier 4 gestalts with tier 5.  Pity aobut losing tier 1 classes, and not even sure this will produce a semblance of balance.

Perhaps a combination of some form of partial gestalt and attribute growth modification would work best?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on January 11, 2011, 07:14:48 AM
The problem with mixing Tier 2's in with Tier 3's is that the raw power of a Tier 2 is still there.  I, personally, see no problems with the mixing of Tier 3 and Tier 4 classes in a single game, although the Tier 5 and Tier 6 classes should either be regarded as NPC classes or simply re-written (the homebrew section likely has a few re-writes of each at a minimum).

As for Tier 1 and Tier 2 classes, they're fine with moderation.  Problem spells are those that give blanket immunities to full categories of effects or that cause crippling penalties with little or no means to circumvent them.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 11, 2011, 05:12:28 PM
While it's not a perfect solution, one idea I've seen and have, myself, bandied about is messing with the XP gained based on which Tier a given character's class is.  Tier 3 characters use the tables in the DMG as is; each step above Tier 3 costs 10% more XP per level to increase ECL, while each step below Tier 3 costs 10% less XP per level to increase ECL.  That means it would cost a Wizard 1200 XP to get to 2nd level, while a Swashbuckler would only require 800 XP to get to 2nd level.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on January 11, 2011, 06:10:13 PM
While it's not a perfect solution, one idea I've seen and have, myself, bandied about is messing with the XP gained based on which Tier a given character's class is.  Tier 3 characters use the tables in the DMG as is; each step above Tier 3 costs 10% more XP per level to increase ECL, while each step below Tier 3 costs 10% less XP per level to increase ECL.  That means it would cost a Wizard 1200 XP to get to 2nd level, while a Swashbuckler would only require 800 XP to get to 2nd level.

If we were talking about more dramatic increases/decreases, I believe it might have a better effect. So that basically when the Wizard hits level 10, the Fighter's well on his way to the late teens while the CW Samurai's already gone epic.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Gods_Trick on January 11, 2011, 06:34:26 PM

How do we calculate multiclass and hybrid PrCs?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on January 11, 2011, 06:40:30 PM

How do we calculate multiclass and hybrid PrCs?
Per level usually works. However, the mundane dipper then gets pretty strong pretty quickly, offensively that is, usually. Also, as soon as you have level differences, the XP gains for lower ECL could well advantage the wizard again, and kill all the penalty.

What I would do is add or subtract from ECL according to Tier. Tier 1 and 2 get +2, and +1, respectively, Tier 3 is normal, Tier 4 is -1 and so on. Doesn't quite work at lower levels, because there is no ECL -2 for the commoner :).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 11, 2011, 09:30:30 PM
You should let the commoner get double levels.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tyal-Kelvar on January 11, 2011, 11:39:16 PM
What I would do is add or subtract from ECL according to Tier. Tier 1 and 2 get +2, and +1, respectively, Tier 3 is normal, Tier 4 is -1 and so on. Doesn't quite work at lower levels, because there is no ECL -2 for the commoner :).

Brilliant idea.  Stuck forever behind by 2 (Or more, if you compare to the party fighter) would certainly weaken them down without invalidating builds.  Still, it then comes down to whether it's enough.  A well played level 16 wizard compared to a level 20 fighter, I'd still say the wizard is vastly more useful, but I guess it becomes more in a generalist way than broken way.  That is assuming I understand you suggestion (wizard 16= ECL 18, fighter 20=ECL 18).  Perhaps a tier 1=+3, tier 2=+1, tier 3=0, tier 4=+1, tier 5=+3, tier 6=still don't play, would work better?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on January 11, 2011, 11:41:38 PM
What I would do is add or subtract from ECL according to Tier. Tier 1 and 2 get +2, and +1, respectively, Tier 3 is normal, Tier 4 is -1 and so on. Doesn't quite work at lower levels, because there is no ECL -2 for the commoner :).

Brilliant idea.  Stuck forever behind by 2 (Or more, if you compare to the party fighter) would certainly weaken them down without invalidating builds.  Still, it then comes down to whether it's enough.  A well played level 16 wizard compared to a level 20 fighter, I'd still say the wizard is vastly more useful, but I guess it becomes more in a generalist way than broken way.  That is assuming I understand you suggestion (wizard 16= ECL 18, fighter 20=ECL 18).  Perhaps a tier 1=+3, tier 2=+1, tier 3=0, tier 4=+1, tier 5=+3, tier 6=still don't play, would work better?
A well-played wizard 10 could likely (and fairly easily) flatten a fighter 20, though it depends in part on the fighter's gear.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tyal-Kelvar on January 12, 2011, 12:56:33 AM
What I would do is add or subtract from ECL according to Tier. Tier 1 and 2 get +2, and +1, respectively, Tier 3 is normal, Tier 4 is -1 and so on. Doesn't quite work at lower levels, because there is no ECL -2 for the commoner :).

Brilliant idea.  Stuck forever behind by 2 (Or more, if you compare to the party fighter) would certainly weaken them down without invalidating builds.  Still, it then comes down to whether it's enough.  A well played level 16 wizard compared to a level 20 fighter, I'd still say the wizard is vastly more useful, but I guess it becomes more in a generalist way than broken way.  That is assuming I understand you suggestion (wizard 16= ECL 18, fighter 20=ECL 18).  Perhaps a tier 1=+3, tier 2=+1, tier 3=0, tier 4=+1, tier 5=+3, tier 6=still don't play, would work better?
A well-played wizard 10 could likely (and fairly easily) flatten a fighter 20, though it depends in part on the fighter's gear.

I don't feel the PvP aspect is so much the point as making all party members useful.  Still, if one says a wizard of half the level of the fighter is balanced, then hard to do it with a straight adjustment to ELC.  Perhaps: tier 1 level=2/3 ECL, tier 2 lvl=5/6 ECL, tier 3 lvl=ECL, tier 4 lvl=7/6 ECL, tier 5 lvl=4/3 ECL, tier 6 lvl=2 times ECL.  That might work for balancing, fighters leveling up twice as fast as wizards.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: awaken DM golem on January 12, 2011, 01:48:43 AM
You should let the commoner get double levels.

HA !!

So now the Commoner would be a Skill Monkey (with all those nifty ranks and stuff).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 12, 2011, 02:59:15 AM
You should let the commoner get double levels.

HA !!

So now the Commoner would be a Skill Monkey (with all those nifty ranks and stuff).
Gets good synergy with ToB, Constitution, Skills, Wild Cohort, and a feat that lets you summon  a demon equal to 1/2 your level for 1 hour a day.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 12, 2011, 03:24:53 AM

How do we calculate multiclass and hybrid PrCs?
Per level usually works. However, the mundane dipper then gets pretty strong pretty quickly, offensively that is, usually. Also, as soon as you have level differences, the XP gains for lower ECL could well advantage the wizard again, and kill all the penalty.
What if you didn't give extra XP to those behind the level curve due to their Tier? That would keep the Tier 1s from ever completely catching up, unless all the low Tier folks just stopped showing up for weeks.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Daniel678 on January 12, 2011, 07:55:46 AM
I seem to remember a commoner build that gained spellcasting through feats. Could a commoner with 2x class levels use that build to get better spellcasting than a wizard? (or at least hit epic spellcasting when the wizard is lvl 11?)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 12, 2011, 08:03:05 AM
I seem to remember a commoner build that gained spellcasting through feats. Could a commoner with 2x class levels use that build to get better spellcasting than a wizard? (or at least hit epic spellcasting when the wizard is lvl 11?)

Off the top of my head

Magical training (0th level)
+heighten spell + versatile spellcaster + earth spell (2nd level)
+eldritch corruption (4th level)
+ sanctum spell (5th level)
+god touched + divine channeler + extra turning +Naenhoon illumian sigil (9th level)

That's a total of nine feats.  You could trim the feat requirements down drastically by focusing on the illumian sigil and spamming extra turning.  That also allows you to take Blessed by Tem-Et-Nu, which is the best commoner feat in existence.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 12, 2011, 04:45:16 PM
Less cheesy is the heritage feats.
1st level Fey heritage
2nd Fiendish
3rd Fey feat that gave 3 spells
5 better version
6 grab the fiendish version

Sorry that I don't recall the names
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on January 12, 2011, 06:04:41 PM
Can't you only have one set of Heritage feats at once?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 12, 2011, 08:03:33 PM
I think it was inconsistent on that front.
Title: Wilder?
Post by: Luckanan on January 14, 2011, 03:23:32 PM
Appologies if this has already been discussed, but what Tier would the Wilder be in?
Title: Re: Wilder?
Post by: Mushroom on January 14, 2011, 03:29:24 PM
Appologies if this has already been discussed, but what Tier would the Wilder be in?
I'd say 3 to 4
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on January 14, 2011, 03:49:04 PM
Can't you only have one set of Heritage feats at once?

Not if you don't mind the fact that your character's female side of the family tree is made of whores.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Gods_Trick on January 14, 2011, 05:16:09 PM
Can't you only have one set of Heritage feats at once?

Not if you don't mind the fact that your character's female side of the family tree is made of whores.

Which isn't too far for most characters  :smirk
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on January 14, 2011, 11:46:11 PM
Wilder -> T3 at worst

Can't you only have one set of Heritage feats at once?

Not if you don't mind the fact that your character's female side of the family tree is made of whores.
Goes to the planes and gets stopped by every other NPC:

"I knew your grandmother. Oh she was so great at this thing-"
"Yeah... I've heard. Bye"
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: MunchausAscendant on January 15, 2011, 12:46:47 AM
I have a couple observations.  (I'm new to this board and to forums in general, so deepest apologies if I commit some kind of breach of etiquette.)

1) Spirit Shaman -- It seems to me that Druid's game-breaking potential comes from wild shaping into absurd things and then buffing itself and its Animal Companion, plus using creative wild shapes to solve other potential problems.  The extra versatility of its spells is just sauce for the goods.  If you take away Wild Shape and Animal Companion, is it possible to break the game on its spells alone?  I'm not sure that it is, therefore Spirit Shaman ought to be T3 (High versatility, low abusability).  (If it is possible to break the game on a druid's spells alone, I'm all ears as to how ;))

2) Warlock -- nobody seems to disagree that it's T4.  Yet, like an Artificer, it can fake any spell for purposes of making magical items with a UMD check.  A UMD check of 24 gives it the ability to fake 9th-level spells, and RAW doesn't provide any limit on how early it can do this (that I can see, bearing in mind that it doesn't get the ability to do this at all until Level 12).  Now, it clearly isn't anything like an Artificer, but the potential for some limited game-breaking abuse is basically right in the open.  So why would it not be T2?

Just looking for insight.  :)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: betrayor on January 15, 2011, 12:56:20 AM
I have a couple observations.  (I'm new to this board and to forums in general, so deepest apologies if I commit some kind of breach of etiquette.)

1) Spirit Shaman -- It seems to me that Druid's game-breaking potential comes from wild shaping into absurd things and then buffing itself and its Animal Companion, plus using creative wild shapes to solve other potential problems.  The extra versatility of its spells is just sauce for the goods.  If you take away Wild Shape and Animal Companion, is it possible to break the game on its spells alone?  I'm not sure that it is, therefore Spirit Shaman ought to be T3 (High versatility, low abusability).  (If it is possible to break the game on a druid's spells alone, I'm all ears as to how ;))

2) Warlock -- nobody seems to disagree that it's T4.  Yet, like an Artificer, it can fake any spell for purposes of making magical items with a UMD check.  A UMD check of 24 gives it the ability to fake 9th-level spells, and RAW doesn't provide any limit on how early it can do this (that I can see, bearing in mind that it doesn't get the ability to do this at all until Level 12).  Now, it clearly isn't anything like an Artificer, but the potential for some limited game-breaking abuse is basically right in the open.  So why would it not be T2?

Just looking for insight.  :)

About spirit shaman,I always thought   that he is exactly between tier 3 and 2........

Either a High tier 3 or a low tier 2.....
While the Druid's spell list is not as good as the cleric's or the wizard's it still provides many options......
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on January 15, 2011, 02:35:32 AM
I have a couple observations.  (I'm new to this board and to forums in general, so deepest apologies if I commit some kind of breach of etiquette.)

1) Spirit Shaman -- It seems to me that Druid's game-breaking potential comes from wild shaping into absurd things and then buffing itself and its Animal Companion, plus using creative wild shapes to solve other potential problems.  The extra versatility of its spells is just sauce for the goods.  If you take away Wild Shape and Animal Companion, is it possible to break the game on its spells alone?  I'm not sure that it is, therefore Spirit Shaman ought to be T3 (High versatility, low abusability).  (If it is possible to break the game on a druid's spells alone, I'm all ears as to how ;))

2) Warlock -- nobody seems to disagree that it's T4.  Yet, like an Artificer, it can fake any spell for purposes of making magical items with a UMD check.  A UMD check of 24 gives it the ability to fake 9th-level spells, and RAW doesn't provide any limit on how early it can do this (that I can see, bearing in mind that it doesn't get the ability to do this at all until Level 12).  Now, it clearly isn't anything like an Artificer, but the potential for some limited game-breaking abuse is basically right in the open.  So why would it not be T2?

Just looking for insight.  :)

The Warlock does not gain anywhere near the versatility of the artificer as far as using and abusing magic items goes. First of all, no let's-pump-this-wand-full-of-free-metamagic abuse. Second, the artificer gets a separate pool of XP just for crafting (and can suck XP out of items that are running out of juice). Third, he gets the crafting on the go (stick crafting homunculus into a portable hole).

I'm sure you get the idea. The Artificer is just NUTS. Crafting, while quite useful, isn't really a tie-upper on its own, specially when you still need to actually eat up the feats for it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on January 15, 2011, 02:47:50 AM
Druids get shapechange, that by itself is worth Tier 2.

The druid spell list excels in summoning, battlefield control, buffs, and has a decent amount of healing, utility, and blasting. The whole package is very much worth the tier 2.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: MunchausAscendant on January 15, 2011, 02:54:09 AM
From JaronK in response to a PM I sent him about the Warlock (reposted with permission):

Quote

You know, I had always meant to go through and talk about each class, but you should be aware that there are a series of threads called "why tier 3s are in tier 3" and so on.  You could check the tier 4 thread for further insights.

First off, remember that Warlocks don't get that creation ability until level 12.  The majority of games are actually played below level 10 (according to various surveys I've seen online) which means that most Warlock players will never even get Imbue Item, so it's weighted a bit less for that reason.

Second, while Artificers automatically get pretty much any item creation feat, Warlocks have to take those feats.  I don't imagine most Warlocks will take all of them, so a given Warlock likely only has Craft Wonderous Item, or Craft Scroll, or Craft Wand... but probably not even all three, let alone Craft Arms and Armor.  There are ways around this (Warlock 12/Chameleon 2, perhaps, or a party member with other item creation feats) but this makes it even less likely that a given Warlock can make the necessary magic item at a given level, while the Artificer almost certainly can make pretty much whatever.

And of course item creation takes time.  Someone completely dedicated to it is likely to take feats to shrink them time, but a Warlock likely can't spend that many feats on it, so once the game starts (which is again likely before level 12) it's not a guarantee he'll have enough time to make the really good stuff, while an Artificer will have crafted everything he can make at the given starting level (even if it's only level 3 or so) and has a better chance of making stuff later.  This gets us into the territory of "this class is powerful if the DM gives it some special consideration" since now the DM has to give you time to get things done, and that's classic Tier 4.  Note that getting a Dedicated Wright will help... but making one of those would require yet another item creation feat, and there's no guarantee an individual Warlock could do that (while it's a top priority for any given Artificer).

So, in the end, it's certainly possible to optimize a Warlock for magic item creation, generally by giving it access to the necessary feats (Chameleon 2, Binder+Anima Mage for Astaroth, etc), getting a dedicated wright, probably taking cost reducer feats (time, gold, and xp), and of course playing at least at level 12, that's not something most Warlocks will do... and that would count as heavy optimization, which will indeed take Warlocks up a Tier (or two, which is actually rare... few classes can get from below T2 to actual T2, but an optimized Warlock's ability to start making scrolls of whatever they want and special items as needed will do the trick).

So yes, as you say yourself, Item Creation isn't what most Warlocks do.  They're more likely to blast and go invisible and fly around.  If you play them really well and optimize for it, you can get up there, but most Warlocks won't do that.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 15, 2011, 03:57:53 AM
With permission, a copy of Munch's original question, as we decided this would be more useful in the public forum:

Quote
Hi there.

I've been recommending your tier system to people for a couple months now; though I've been playing D&D for, god, this is my twentieth year, reading what you've come up with has really expanded my understanding of how things fit together.  I mean, I always suspected that Wizards were much stronger than Fighters and that Paladins, in general, sucked, but being able to see why that was has been really nice.  (I've only recently really started playing at great length in long-running campaigns, despite my years and years of splash experiences.)  So for that write-up, thank you.

Now, a question:

I've just spent the last day or so reading through the entire "old" post, and only just now found the new one.  As I don't currently have the strength to keep reading through another twenty pages of people missing the point, I wanted to direct my question specifically to you, to wit:

I see that a Warlock is ranked as Tier 4.  Artificers, on the other hand, are Tier 1.  It looks to me that Warlocks get the same ability to craft any item they want, arcane or divine, through their Imbue Item ability, gained at level 12.

My reading of the rules suggests, to me, that Warlocks are technically capable of the same kind of game-breaking shenanigans as an Artificer, with the added benefit of being able to take 10 on UMD checks (it's been a month or so since I read through the Artificer's description so I can't recall if they get the same thing).  Granted that the Artificer gets all the Item Creation feats for free, a pool of XP and a two-level head start on accessing a given spell level (not to mention being able to do all this from level 1, rather than the Warlock's 12), doesn't the fact that Warlocks can do it at all merit Tier 2?

Or do you consider this a "fringe" case, not within the "typical" usage of the class?  I.e. the Warlock's "point" is to fire eldritch blasts, not make scrolls?

Just curious as to what your thinking is on this particular subject.  Apologies if you've articulated it elsewhere.

~Munch

I responded as per the quote above, and his response back:

Quote
Yeah, I saw those threads, but the Warlock wasn't discussed at much length.  I don't disagree that there's nothing special about their blasting capabilities (though I've yet to see what all the fuss is about with Archers, not that I've spent a lot of time looking), and that's all that was addressed.

The reason I was asking if they aren't maybe T2-worthy is because I thought your definition of T2 was "capable of breaking the game in a limited number of ways with some forethought."  As I pointed out in my initial note, no, they don't get many IC feats for free, but really you only need the one (Scribe Scroll) and then you've got djinns and solars and midgard wrights, oh my.  The L12 limit is a point, which I also pointed out, but it really does seem to me that by the definition of the tiers a Warlock jumps up to T2 at 12th level with the investment of a single Core feat.

Since the stated purpose of your Tier system is to warn DMs of the potential for game-breaking abusability, I was thinking maybe it's worth adding a footnote to the Warlock?

The Artificer's T1 comes from his ability to craft things, but the real breakability behind the things he can craft are the spells that power them.  Would an Artificer still be T1/T2 if all they got for free was Scribe Scroll?  I'd personally rule yes, despite the fact that nobody would probably want to play them at that point.  Given that, I'd personally also rule that Warlocks are also T2 after level 12.

It's not the kind of thing that most people are *going* to do with the class, but then (if my experience is anything to go by), the vast majority of barbar-players out there aren't going to go Lion Totem simply because they can't be arsed to read all the splat books and ACFs.  If we're talking about potential, I think that the Warlock's emulate-any-spell ability deserves a rather prominent footnote.

But I'm not going to be miffed if you disagree :-)

I did actually post this observation on the thread, since after reading through it I discovered that it was still active.  Maybe, if further discussion is warranted, we should move it there?

So, in response to this: if I were to do a specific Warlock entry to explain its position in the tiers, I would definitely put in a special note about their ability to produce any scroll of any spell they desire to make (with an extra bit about trapsmith spells, which are very important to note).  I don't think it's all that big of a deal, in part because the DM will see them crafting these scrolls in advance of the situation (so they'll know it's coming) but it's definitely worth mentioning.  Warlocks can absolutely hit T2 if allowed to play with their 12th level ability without restriction, so it's worth warning about.  I just never got around to actually going over every single class (the threads on why Tier X classes are in Tier X do a very nice job of talking about it, though).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: MunchausAscendant on January 15, 2011, 06:15:49 AM
@ninjarabbit Okay, it somehow escaped my notice that shapechange is on the Druid list.  Yup, that pushes Spirit Shaman over the edge to T2, in my opinion.

@JaronK and Kuroimaken Thanks for the clarification :-)  It's a wonky kinda thing to categorize; I guess I'm just going to think of Warlocks as T4 sub-L12 and T2 afterwards.

Useful for future reference.  Of course, my current Warlock player thought it was a great idea to prestige out into Dragon Disciple...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 15, 2011, 08:21:35 AM
@ninjarabbit Okay, it somehow escaped my notice that shapechange is on the Druid list.  Yup, that pushes Spirit Shaman over the edge to T2, in my opinion.
I call the healer/truenamer precedence, to negate shape change.

Edit* Speaking of Healer would making it have useful in combat healing push it to tier 4? Say they got to add a d6 to all healing spells at every odd level. So cure critical would heal 4d8+4d6+7 at level 7. 40 damage is pretty comparable to an earth elemental attack. Add in spontaneous conversion of healing spells and a few healing spells to the list and it seems like it might make it to that range from my perspective.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on January 15, 2011, 08:36:16 AM
@ninjarabbit Okay, it somehow escaped my notice that shapechange is on the Druid list.  Yup, that pushes Spirit Shaman over the edge to T2, in my opinion.
I call the healer/truenamer precedence, to negate shape change.

Edit* Speaking of Healer would making it have useful in combat healing push it to tier 4? Say they got to add a d6 to all healing spells at every odd level. So cure critical would heal 4d8+4d6+7 at level 7. 40 damage is pretty comparable to an earth elemental attack. Add in spontaneous conversion of healing spells and a few healing spells to the list and it seems like it might make it to that range from my perspective.


It still lacks useful class features. Most of its abilities are an effective Pearl of Power for set spells, which is fairly useless (and the Unicorn mount comes out of nowhere there).

Edit: As for the Spirit Shaman, it was Tier 2 to begin with (yes, the Druid's spell list is less useful than normal lists, but it does have a wide array of useful spells in other supplements). The ability to change spells known every day is what keeps it out of Tier 3: You can delve for spells that are useful one day, then switch lists the next day. It also has access to SNA, and is the only class outside of the Druid itself that has those spells without wasting resources (the Cleric has to waste a domain, the Artificer has to use craft reserve, and the Archivist has to use spellbook pages).

Really, SNA itself is very powerful. If the Binder can be put into Tier 2 with that Summoning Vestige, then the Spirit Shaman deserves just as much leeway for having SNA without online sources.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: X-Codes on January 15, 2011, 11:26:26 AM
I thought common wisdom pegged SNA as strictly inferior to Summon Monster past 3rd-level spells or so.  Also, Shapechange by itself isn't really enough to break the game by itself, really, especially since the SS gets it a level delayed and has so few 9th-level spells available at a given time.  What's more, even with all the splats available, there's very little in the Druid spell list that's really even approaching with a Wizard's GODly power.  No Calling spells, no game-altering spells like Contingency, limited teleportation ability...

Sure, once they get 9th-level spells they're pretty awesome.  When they're muddling around in the 5th-7th level spells range, pickings are very slim.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on January 15, 2011, 12:10:04 PM
I thought common wisdom pegged SNA as strictly inferior to Summon Monster past 3rd-level spells or so.  Also, Shapechange by itself isn't really enough to break the game by itself, really, especially since the SS gets it a level delayed and has so few 9th-level spells available at a given time.  What's more, even with all the splats available, there's very little in the Druid spell list that's really even approaching with a Wizard's GODly power.  No Calling spells, no game-altering spells like Contingency, limited teleportation ability...

Sure, once they get 9th-level spells they're pretty awesome.  When they're muddling around in the 5th-7th level spells range, pickings are very slim.

Even with the Druid spell restriction, you've got to keep in mind that those spells are still worth more than, say, a Dread Necromancer's selection. Druids have several very potent BC spells, and they just get more in splat books. Transmute Rock to Lava, for example. If you can't think of a use for that, you aren't trying.

What the Druid lacks with Calling, Contingency, and teleportation, it makes up for with BC and buffs (and you can take Wild Cohort to solve that whole target problem with some Druid buffs).

SNA also has the most access to Huge-sized creatures. SM may have the SLAs, but SNA is good for combat.


And Greenbound/Ashbound. Can't argue with Greenbound Summons.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on January 15, 2011, 02:16:43 PM
What I'm curious about:

Quote
First off, remember that Warlocks don't get that creation ability until level 12.  The majority of games are actually played below level 10 (according to various surveys I've seen online) which means that most Warlock players will never even get Imbue Item, so it's weighted a bit less for that reason.

JaronK, if this is weighted, then what does the paladin do in tier 5? Because of course, at the high levels it won't be able to compete with high level spells, but especially at lower and mid levels (definitivly up to lvl 12) it is perfectly capable of fulfilling several roles (face, damage dealer, tank, healer, buffs, debuffs & utility), also several within 1 build. I think this http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10057.0 shows several builds that are capable of that, also with moderate optimization. If it's easier, I can post in the 'why tier 5 are in tier 5' thread a more extensive argument. 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 15, 2011, 02:33:23 PM
What I'm curious about:

Quote
First off, remember that Warlocks don't get that creation ability until level 12.  The majority of games are actually played below level 10 (according to various surveys I've seen online) which means that most Warlock players will never even get Imbue Item, so it's weighted a bit less for that reason.

JaronK, if this is weighted, then what does the paladin do in tier 5? Because of course, at the high levels it won't be able to compete with high level spells, but especially at lower and mid levels (definitivly up to lvl 12) it is perfectly capable of fulfilling several roles (face, damage dealer, tank, healer, buffs, debuffs & utility), also several within 1 build. I think this http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10057.0 shows several builds that are capable of that, also with moderate optimization. If it's easier, I can post in the 'why tier 5 are in tier 5' thread a more extensive argument. 


Note that "weighted a bit less" isn't the same as not weighted... it's a factor that's considered, but generally speaking I consider 6-15 to be the most important levels to look at (1-5 is most played but the balance differences are also less noticeable in general, while 16+ seems very rarely played).  The lower levels of that (6-10) are weighted highest... but I find Paladins have a lot of trouble even relatively early on.  They're not great as healers, as their in combat heals are too little to matter and deny them actions, while their out of combat healing is inefficient (especially compared to folks like Binders, Crusaders, Dread Necromancers, etc).  MAD is a serious problem for them as well, which reduces their ability to be a face (they need lots of different stats which tends to leave only Dex and Int dumpable... denying them the skill points they'd generally want.  Diplomacy is nice but it's likely all they get).  As a tank, again that MAD issue makes them worse at this than other high HD heavy armor classes.  And there's no way they're going to be able to buff, debuff, and heal on the same character with their limited spell selection, especially in the lower levels, at least not without being very weak in those roles.

In the end, it's hard not to compare the Paladin to the Crusader and see a dramatic difference.  Remember that being one Tier apart means the two should still be able to play together well without one completely overwhelming the other.  The Crusader, however, will usually make the Pally look pretty silly.  Obviously optimization can change this (Battle Blessing is pretty freaking sweet, and Serenity helps a lot) but optimization can pump up the Crusader nicely too.  And putting a Crusader in a party with a Paladin is much like having an Unarmed Swordsage with a Monk.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on January 15, 2011, 02:53:58 PM
What I'm curious about:

Quote
First off, remember that Warlocks don't get that creation ability until level 12.  The majority of games are actually played below level 10 (according to various surveys I've seen online) which means that most Warlock players will never even get Imbue Item, so it's weighted a bit less for that reason.

JaronK, if this is weighted, then what does the paladin do in tier 5? Because of course, at the high levels it won't be able to compete with high level spells, but especially at lower and mid levels (definitivly up to lvl 12) it is perfectly capable of fulfilling several roles (face, damage dealer, tank, healer, buffs, debuffs & utility), also several within 1 build. I think this http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10057.0 shows several builds that are capable of that, also with moderate optimization. If it's easier, I can post in the 'why tier 5 are in tier 5' thread a more extensive argument. 


Note that "weighted a bit less" isn't the same as not weighted... it's a factor that's considered, but generally speaking I consider 6-15 to be the most important levels to look at (1-5 is most played but the balance differences are also less noticeable in general, while 16+ seems very rarely played).  The lower levels of that (6-10) are weighted highest... but I find Paladins have a lot of trouble even relatively early on.  They're not great as healers, as their in combat heals are too little to matter and deny them actions, while their out of combat healing is inefficient (especially compared to folks like Binders, Crusaders, Dread Necromancers, etc).  MAD is a serious problem for them as well, which reduces their ability to be a face (they need lots of different stats which tends to leave only Dex and Int dumpable... denying them the skill points they'd generally want.  Diplomacy is nice but it's likely all they get).  As a tank, again that MAD issue makes them worse at this than other high HD heavy armor classes.  And there's no way they're going to be able to buff, debuff, and heal on the same character with their limited spell selection, especially in the lower levels, at least not without being very weak in those roles.

In the end, it's hard not to compare the Paladin to the Crusader and see a dramatic difference.  Remember that being one Tier apart means the two should still be able to play together well without one completely overwhelming the other.  The Crusader, however, will usually make the Pally look pretty silly.  Obviously optimization can change this (Battle Blessing is pretty freaking sweet, and Serenity helps a lot) but optimization can pump up the Crusader nicely too.  And putting a Crusader in a party with a Paladin is much like having an Unarmed Swordsage with a Monk.

JaronK

But from level 5/6 is where the paladin starts getting crazy multipliers on charge attacks, as well as either the horsy or the charging smite acf. I don't agree with you that crusader and paladin differ that much, against evil opponents the paladin easily outdamages the crusader, even when the latter uses that crazy 8d8 lvl 4 maneuver. Also, I when you compare paladin to monk... they are really in a different level. Monk can do 1 thing and do it badly (combat), paladin can do combat quite good, and as well a bit of other stuff mentioned above. On 'face' role: they have access to diplomacy, gather information, sense motive, as well as some usefull spells annd detect evil. Simply making a paladin that isn't mounted or with a little higher ability score in int., you can make a very good face, especially for a cha based class.

But I'll post later today something in the tier 5 thread.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on January 15, 2011, 03:44:46 PM
What I'm curious about:

Quote
First off, remember that Warlocks don't get that creation ability until level 12.  The majority of games are actually played below level 10 (according to various surveys I've seen online) which means that most Warlock players will never even get Imbue Item, so it's weighted a bit less for that reason.

JaronK, if this is weighted, then what does the paladin do in tier 5? Because of course, at the high levels it won't be able to compete with high level spells, but especially at lower and mid levels (definitivly up to lvl 12) it is perfectly capable of fulfilling several roles (face, damage dealer, tank, healer, buffs, debuffs & utility), also several within 1 build. I think this http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10057.0 shows several builds that are capable of that, also with moderate optimization. If it's easier, I can post in the 'why tier 5 are in tier 5' thread a more extensive argument. 


Note that "weighted a bit less" isn't the same as not weighted... it's a factor that's considered, but generally speaking I consider 6-15 to be the most important levels to look at (1-5 is most played but the balance differences are also less noticeable in general, while 16+ seems very rarely played).  The lower levels of that (6-10) are weighted highest... but I find Paladins have a lot of trouble even relatively early on.  They're not great as healers, as their in combat heals are too little to matter and deny them actions, while their out of combat healing is inefficient (especially compared to folks like Binders, Crusaders, Dread Necromancers, etc).  MAD is a serious problem for them as well, which reduces their ability to be a face (they need lots of different stats which tends to leave only Dex and Int dumpable... denying them the skill points they'd generally want.  Diplomacy is nice but it's likely all they get).  As a tank, again that MAD issue makes them worse at this than other high HD heavy armor classes.  And there's no way they're going to be able to buff, debuff, and heal on the same character with their limited spell selection, especially in the lower levels, at least not without being very weak in those roles.

In the end, it's hard not to compare the Paladin to the Crusader and see a dramatic difference.  Remember that being one Tier apart means the two should still be able to play together well without one completely overwhelming the other.  The Crusader, however, will usually make the Pally look pretty silly.  Obviously optimization can change this (Battle Blessing is pretty freaking sweet, and Serenity helps a lot) but optimization can pump up the Crusader nicely too.  And putting a Crusader in a party with a Paladin is much like having an Unarmed Swordsage with a Monk.

JaronK

But from level 5/6 is where the paladin starts getting crazy multipliers on charge attacks, as well as either the horsy or the charging smite acf. I don't agree with you that crusader and paladin differ that much, against evil opponents the paladin easily outdamages the crusader, even when the latter uses that crazy 8d8 lvl 4 maneuver. Also, I when you compare paladin to monk... they are really in a different level. Monk can do 1 thing and do it badly (combat), paladin can do combat quite good, and as well a bit of other stuff mentioned above. On 'face' role: they have access to diplomacy, gather information, sense motive, as well as some usefull spells annd detect evil. Simply making a paladin that isn't mounted or with a little higher ability score in int., you can make a very good face, especially for a cha based class.

But I'll post later today something in the tier 5 thread.

There's no denying the sheer damage output of the Core combat whores. The math's been done; on a round-per-round basis, an optimized Monk, Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, and Paladin can all outdamage the Crusader, Warblade, and Swordsage. While the latter three can access similar tricks, the former has more support in splats, and inevitably the sheer numbers add up.

The reason they still rank so low is that's (usually) all they are good at: Dealing damage. The Bo9S 3 are capable of doing things that make the whores cry (Teleportation at will, constant fly speed, jumping Xty feet as a swift action, giving other characters extra turns, etc).

The Paladin's spells don't kick in until post-4th level (and at that point the spells he does get are fairly worthless). Meanwhile, the Crusader's been digging entire mines with the Mountain Hammer, healing like he was a Wand of Lesser Vigor, and taking it like a man. I won't deny that the Paladin can do some serious damage compared to the Crusader, but that's because maneuvers get out-tempoed very early on.


But that isn't what the Tiers system is based on. The Paladin has ONE option during combat (Mount up and Charge), while the Crusader has several different actions to work with (White Raven is nuts). The Paladin's healing abilities do not compare to a Crusader's. And never mind Turn Undead (seriously, it rarely works unless the DM sends a horde).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 15, 2011, 04:06:58 PM
SiFir hit all the salient points.  Except outliers like Battle Blessing, the Paladin spell list is pretty much junk compared to what other casters are pumping out at comparable ECL, and "I hit it with my Valorous Lance" as your only combat option worth mentioning gets dull as dirt for many of us pretty damned quickly.  Crusaders have so much more to do, and do well.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 15, 2011, 11:47:42 PM
Plus very little stops a Crusader from doing the same Valorous Lance stuff... or a Warrior from doing the same, for that matter.  The last Crusader I made used a Valorous Spiked Shield to double tap people with Improved Trip/Shield Slam/Shield Charge on the charge along with his Lion Totem dip gained pounce (note: Paladins have a MUCH tougher time getting pounce, unless they're Paladins of Freedom, for obvious reasons) and Shock Trooper.  He was no slouch in damage.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: betrayor on January 15, 2011, 11:56:29 PM
While I understand that Paladin is surely lower than tier 3,I wouldn't put him on tier 5......
The thing is that he has enough options(mount,spellcasting,turn undead and the options that come from it) to make him a tier 4.........
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Littha on January 16, 2011, 12:10:37 AM
While I understand that Paladin is surely lower than tier 3,I wouldn't put him on tier 5......
The thing is that he has enough options(mount,spellcasting,turn undead and the options that come from it) to make him a tier 4.........


He also has crippling MAD.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: ninjarabbit on January 16, 2011, 12:16:40 AM
The problem is that the paladin isn't a good class out of the box. Yeah with enough ACFs and class-specific feats the paladin can have a higher ceiling but that requires a high optimization skill and a good number of splatbooks.

By comparion out of the box the hexblade (a tier 4 class) has less MAD (not needing Wis), a much better spell list (including gems like polymorph, alter self, glitterdust, charm person, etc), a better set of class skills (and usually having better Int due to less MAD), and extra feats while having the same BAB and d10 hit dice and having class features that are fairly close in power.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Waazraath on January 16, 2011, 12:36:15 AM
Posted my lengthier argument in the appropriate 'why tier 5s are in tier 5' thread. Sorry, missed the last 4 posts because I was typing, but its long enough to have most things covered anyway  :D
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 16, 2011, 06:45:01 AM
@ninjarabbit Okay, it somehow escaped my notice that shapechange is on the Druid list.  Yup, that pushes Spirit Shaman over the edge to T2, in my opinion.
I call the healer/truenamer precedence, to negate shape change.

Edit* Speaking of Healer would making it have useful in combat healing push it to tier 4? Say they got to add a d6 to all healing spells at every odd level. So cure critical would heal 4d8+4d6+7 at level 7. 40 damage is pretty comparable to an earth elemental attack. Add in spontaneous conversion of healing spells and a few healing spells to the list and it seems like it might make it to that range from my perspective.


It still lacks useful class features. Most of its abilities are an effective Pearl of Power for set spells, which is fairly useless (and the Unicorn mount comes out of nowhere there).

Useful incombat healing is a useful class feature.
Plus the spontaneous healing would free up slots for talking to animals.



Quote
Really, SNA itself is very powerful. If the Binder can be put into Tier 2 with that Summoning Vestige, then the Spirit Shaman deserves just as much leeway for having SNA without online sources.
The binder isn't really tier 2 for the ability to use SM, its T2 for the ability to send monster after monster after monster after monster after monster after monster at the problem.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 16, 2011, 06:48:45 AM
Not only is SM better than SNA, the thing about Binders is they can spam it once every 5 (or 4 with the right feat) rounds, thus keeping up three or more critters at all times.  That means full access to all those spell like abilities (which SNA rarely gives) and you have them as much as you want.  Also, you get any item crafting feat you'd ever want, which is quite handy as well.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Mushroom on January 18, 2011, 08:47:38 PM
What would be the tier on the Death Master(Dragon Compendium)?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 18, 2011, 09:38:06 PM
I would say between Tier 3 and 1, based on a quick glance
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on January 18, 2011, 10:04:37 PM
What would be the tier on the Death Master(Dragon Compendium)?

Tier 2. I've had the most experience with the class (at least as far as I know; not many will speak up about it). While it is a prepared caster ala Clerics, they lack the spell support and are largely Core. Not much to work with, but they get a solid spell list.


The best trick is the double-lich. Dragonwrought Kobold Dracolich with LA buyback can, upon taking 20th level in Death Master, gain the benefits of the Lich template in addition to the Dracolich template.


In other words, "Yo dawg, I heard you like Liches..."
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on January 18, 2011, 10:06:02 PM
edit: ninja'd
What would be the tier on the Death Master(Dragon Compendium)?
Voila:
ardent (3)
Battledancer (5)
deathmaster (2)
divine mind (5)
dragon shaman (5)
dragonfire adept (4 with but slightly lower than warlocks)
eidolon (5)
eidoloncer (variable like a PrC, but technically a ghost only non ECL1 base class. Without casting to advance 6)
jester (high 4)
incarnate (3)
lurk (Definately tier 5. I wish they could actually do something)
montebank (4)
mystic (Tier 2, one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a favored soul minus the umph)
noble (Tier 5=weak sauce bard without the spells)
savant (low 4)
Sha'ir (2, but ... strange)
shadowcaster (4)
shugenja (3)
sohei (4)
soulborn (5)
spirit shaman (tier 2 because it tries to do too much and doesn't quite succeed)
totemist (4?)
Wilder (low 2, wishes it could be a psion)

Like Jaron said most every seperate variant is in the same tier, including:[spoiler]
bardic sage
battle sorcerer
cloistered cleric
divine bard
domain wizard
druidic avenger
paladin of freedom, slaughter, tyranny and the Drag Mag ones
psionic artificer
savage bard
urban adept
thug
totem barbarian [UA kind]
urban ranger[/spoiler]

JaronK should I just throw up a reference thread? The mods haven't answered my thread resources subforum request and I don't know who moved in the you break it you buy it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 18, 2011, 10:21:44 PM
ardent (3)
Sha'ir (2, but ... strange)

Sorry if this has been talked out to death, but on what grounds is the sha'ir not T1? He gets full casting off the entire sorc/wiz list, and every sha'ir has the ability to access the full list to the same degree a wizard does. There are some weirdnesses in his preparation, and he has to re-prep a spell if he goes too long without casting it, but I'm not sure how a class with what amounts to full wizard casting can be non-T1.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 18, 2011, 10:53:36 PM
ardent (3)
Sha'ir (2, but ... strange)

Sorry if this has been talked out to death, but on what grounds is the sha'ir not T1? He gets full casting off the entire sorc/wiz list, and every sha'ir has the ability to access the full list to the same degree a wizard does. There are some weirdnesses in his preparation, and he has to re-prep a spell if he goes too long without casting it, but I'm not sure how a class with what amounts to full wizard casting can be non-T1.
At a guess, I'd say there are too many potential situations where the Sha'ir is caught without the appropriate spells for a situation, relative to the Big Six of Tier 1.  Wizards get Scribe Scroll for free to help with those situations, Sha'ir don't.  Couple that with the short time that a low level Sha'ir has to adventure between the spells falling out of his memory, and it exacerbates the 15 minute workday scenario that many groups abhor.  Sure, at upper levels, they are pretty haus, but getting there is a lot more dicey than it is for the Big Six.  They can't change the world quite as easily as a Tier 1.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 18, 2011, 11:40:34 PM
ardent (3)
Sha'ir (2, but ... strange)

Sorry if this has been talked out to death, but on what grounds is the sha'ir not T1? He gets full casting off the entire sorc/wiz list, and every sha'ir has the ability to access the full list to the same degree a wizard does. There are some weirdnesses in his preparation, and he has to re-prep a spell if he goes too long without casting it, but I'm not sure how a class with what amounts to full wizard casting can be non-T1.
At a guess, I'd say there are too many potential situations where the Sha'ir is caught without the appropriate spells for a situation, relative to the Big Six of Tier 1.  Wizards get Scribe Scroll for free to help with those situations, Sha'ir don't.  Couple that with the short time that a low level Sha'ir has to adventure between the spells falling out of his memory, and it exacerbates the 15 minute workday scenario that many groups abhor.  Sure, at upper levels, they are pretty haus, but getting there is a lot more dicey than it is for the Big Six.  They can't change the world quite as easily as a Tier 1.

"Caught without the appropriate spells" is the situation where the sha'ir is stronger than a wizard, though - he can fetch any spell in a couple of minutes at most, and rounds for his "known spells". For situations where you need the right spell and don't even have rounds to spare... well, there's combat, which you should fetch some spells for in advance anyway, and what else? Will a wizard always have a scroll scribed for those situations?

The sha'ir only exacerbates the 15-minute workday in that he needs to take a few minutes to re-fetch his spells when the fetched spells expire. (Technically, he doesn't actually need to stop the party - his gen is off doing all the work, so he can be doing whatever else he feels like during his spell fetching.) I suspect the argument against T1 sha'ir is rooted in the mistaken belief that he loses spell slots if he doesn't cast the spell, but reading the class he doesn't: he can cast a limited number of times per day like anyone else, but there's no indication that fetching a spell and letting it expire counts against that limit.

Am I saying the sha'ir is better than or as good as a wizard? No, not really. He gets new spell levels on the sorcerer schedule and he arguably can't have multiples of the same spell fetched at once (although he can fetch another copy once it's cast.) He's still a tier 1 by any reasonable reading, although he's lower on tier 1 than the wizard is.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 18, 2011, 11:49:54 PM
A couple of rounds is often the difference between success and death in D&D 3.5.  Just sayin'.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 18, 2011, 11:59:10 PM
A couple of rounds is often the difference between success and death in D&D 3.5.  Just sayin'.

Sure, and if you couldn't fetch spells in advance that would be a problem.

The thing is, we're not arguing about fetching spells now vs. having them prepared in advance, because sha'ir and wizards are equally able to have whatever spells they think they'll need prepared. You are saying that the reason sha'ir is T2 instead of T1 is because they get fast-prep instead of Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.

Seriously. Read back over what you said.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 12:01:04 AM
Gen familiars are also far more of a liability than a spellbook is, since objects are easier to protect than creatures.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 12:05:57 AM
Gen familiars are also far more of a liability than a spellbook is, since objects are easier to protect than creatures.

They're easier to protect than familiars with at-will Plane Shift to GTFO at the first sign of trouble? If you're that paranoid, you can keep him in a Familiar Pouch when he's not fetching spells, I guess.

Seriously, guys, you're stretching for reasons to demote it a tier here. You have a class with full wizard casting delayed by a level, more or less. Yes, it has disadvantages compared to wizards. You can call it low T1 but are these seriously arguments against it being T1 at all?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 19, 2011, 12:09:56 AM
A couple of rounds is often the difference between success and death in D&D 3.5.  Just sayin'.

Sure, and if you couldn't fetch spells in advance that would be a problem.

The thing is, we're not arguing about fetching spells now vs. having them prepared in advance, because sha'ir and wizards are equally able to have whatever spells they think they'll need prepared. You are saying that the reason sha'ir is T2 instead of T1 is because they get fast-prep instead of Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.

Seriously. Read back over what you said.
That's not what I said.  I said that, with Scribe Scroll, a Wizard has a spell that he doesn't typically prepare available to him as a move action (thanks to Handy Haversack et al) or full-round action by default, versus a Sha'ir having that same spell available to him in 1dHandful rounds.  Which scenario is likely to be more useful?

For Clerics and Druids, the useful spells not typically prepared are most often Cures (for Clerics) and Summons (for Druids), in my experience and in reading various PbP forums.  Hey, look!  They can automatically sub out their prepared spells for those respective choices, by default.  The Sha'ir?  Not so much.  They can get them, sure.  The time it takes could well make that Cure spell less apropos than a Raise Dead, though....

See also: TML's commentary about spellbooks relative to gens.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on January 19, 2011, 12:29:28 AM
To me the Sha'ir is the arcane version of the Spirit Shaman (also tier 2), except the Sha'ir has limited spells known and its gen can fail to retrieve spells.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 12:33:12 AM
That's not what I said.  I said that, with Scribe Scroll, a Wizard has a spell that he doesn't typically prepare available to him as a move action (thanks to Handy Haversack et al) or full-round action by default, versus a Sha'ir having that same spell available to him in 1dHandful rounds.  Which scenario is likely to be more useful?

I would dare to suggest that if a single feat core feat, taken at level 1, using no unusual readings of its rules text, is sufficient to make a class Tier 1, that class should be considered Tier 1. After all, clearly if the feat is that much of a difference nobody would ever skip it. Assuming that you're arguing that the Scribe Scroll thing is why sha'ir aren't T1, anyway. And if it's not, why are you making such a big deal of it and what is the reason?

I'm sorry, but these arguments are starting to sound faintly ridiculous. The impression I'm getting is that "well, sha'ir isn't T1 because I have this sort of sense that it's a bad class" but no credible argument against it being T1 comes to mind.

To me the Sha'ir is the arcane version of the Spirit Shaman (also tier 2), except the Sha'ir has limited spells known and its gen can fail to retrieve spells.

Except that the sha'ir's "spells known" don't actually restrict what spells he can fetch. It only makes some of them fetch more quickly.

And failing to retrieve spells is vanishingly unlikely if you actually bother to maintain your diplomacy.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on January 19, 2011, 12:46:11 AM
Another issue with the sha'ir: It takes a minimum of two hours to get any divine spell.  How can you properly prep ahead of time?  A wizard can choose to wait to memorize spells later in the day after casting divinations/whatever.  A Sha'ir requires a lot of extra time in order to get the same effect.

I'm not arguing tiers here, just ways in which it is inferior to a wizard.   :shrug
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 12:50:06 AM
Gen familiars are also far more of a liability than a spellbook is, since objects are easier to protect than creatures.

They're easier to protect than familiars with at-will Plane Shift to GTFO at the first sign of trouble? If you're that paranoid, you can keep him in a Familiar Pouch when he's not fetching spells, I guess.

Seriously, guys, you're stretching for reasons to demote it a tier here. You have a class with full wizard casting delayed by a level, more or less. Yes, it has disadvantages compared to wizards. You can call it low T1 but are these seriously arguments against it being T1 at all?
Oh, yeah, that's another thing.  Your class feature is going to be spending a bunch of time on another plane without any backup and could get eaten.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Catty Nebulart on January 19, 2011, 12:55:22 AM
A charisma based caster that needs to keep up diplomacy? Oh noes the horror. While I havn't read the actual Sha'ir the sense I get it that it is like a sorcerer except they can swap out spells at will with pretty much no limit to how many they know. Some wonkyness keeps them weak at low levels, but wizards are not Tier one for their spectacular powers at level one either.

The biggest reason against the Sha'ir seem that it is one level behind the wizard when it comes to casting, hence I have to agree with the argument that Sha'ir are tier one material. As stated only combat spells (and feather fall, and possibly some similar emergency spells) need to be preped beforehand, in other situations you can spend a minute or two to fetch exactly the right spell.

Damn ninja's.
As to divine spells one can send ones familiar of while sleeping, that should do the trick. Having a bad way to prepare more spell choices than the wizard gets is still better than not having the option.

And if your GM will kill your familiar off for using a nessecary class feature then you need to reconsider.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 12:57:20 AM
Another issue with the sha'ir: It takes a minimum of two hours to get any divine spell.  How can you properly prep ahead of time?  A wizard can choose to wait to memorize spells later in the day after casting divinations/whatever.  A Sha'ir requires a lot of extra time in order to get the same effect.

I'm not arguing tiers here, just ways in which it is inferior to a wizard.   :shrug

It does take a minimum two hours to get any spell that isn't on the sorc/wiz spell list. How long does it take a wizard to prepare a spell that isn't on the sorc/wiz spell list? (Note that any tricks that add a spell to the class list work just as well for a sha'ir.)

Oh, yeah, that's another thing.  Your class feature is going to be spending a bunch of time on another plane without any backup and could get eaten.

Your DM can rule that the gen gets eaten offscreen. He can also rule that your spellbook gets space bookworms and is irrecoverable. There's no text anywhere indicating that either is likely to happen short of a DM-mandated screwjob.


So to be clear here, are we trying to argue that it's not the spellcasting with full and complete access to the sorc/wiz list that makes the wizard T1?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on January 19, 2011, 01:00:28 AM
Question: What the fuck does it matter if some people think it's Tier 2 and others Teir 1?  That's what I really want to know.  PlzBreakMyCampaign put it in that tier so why not PM him about it to get his reasons?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 01:02:54 AM
Question: What the fuck does it matter if some people think it's Tier 2 and others Teir 1?  That's what I really want to know.  PlzBreakMyCampaign put it in that tier so why not PM him about it to get his reasons?

I was curious and I think it belongs in T1. And then when I asked, suddenly there was an outpouring of vitriol and frankly baffling arguments against it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Nanshork on January 19, 2011, 01:31:06 AM
Fair enough.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 19, 2011, 01:48:18 AM
These things happen. Like the debate on whether the paladin is high tier 5 or low tier 4.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 02:20:42 AM
These things happen. Like the debate on whether the paladin is high tier 5 or low tier 4.

The thing that bugs me is that the arguments against the sha'ir usually seem to be based on either misreading the class, not reading the class at all, or "gut feeling" from having heard bad things from someone else who misread the class.

The big example is saying "A wizard can choose to wait to memorize spells later in the day after casting divinations/whatever.  A Sha'ir requires a lot of extra time in order to get the same effect." (And no offense meant here to Nanshork, because that's a common misconception.) The thing is that the whole point with the sha'ir is that he fetches spells faster than a wizard, fast enough that leaving space open to fetch a spell here and there as the need arises is practical. The only time a sha'ir prepares slower is when he's fetching spells that a wizard doesn't even get, but people see that "hours" and somehow it spreads like a cancer into their reading of every other class feature, even people who otherwise go through wording with a fine-toothed comb looking for advantages.

Part of this is unclear writing. Because it uses the term "spells known", people assume that the sha'ir can't reasonably prepare other spells - but a sha'ir who fetches nothing but spells that _aren't_ on his known list will fill up his allotment in about the same time as a wizard takes to prepare. The feature should more reasonably be called "favored spells" or something, because all it does is make those spells fetch faster.

It would be like if someone argued "The paladin is low tier because using Smite Evil makes archdemons fly out of the sky and tear your head off instantly". What's bothersome isn't that the other person doesn't like the class, but that the argument is based on things that simply aren't there.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 02:28:23 AM
Well, I don't exactly buy the "dissipates harmlessly" means it doesn't count against your castings/day, which certainly makes the class weaker.

Given that the game assumes you'll end up fighting extraplanar foes, having a big extraplanar "kick me" sign isn't exactly the best class feature.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 02:34:02 AM
Well, I don't exactly buy the "dissipates harmlessly" means it doesn't count against your castings/day, which certainly makes the class weaker.

If your DM rules that dissipated spells count against your spells cast, that will obviously hurt the class, especially in low levels. However, I do not believe that is the most obvious or reasonable reading of the sha'ir's abilities as they are written.

Quote
Given that the game assumes you'll end up fighting extraplanar foes, having a big extraplanar "kick me" sign isn't exactly the best class feature.

Neither is having a big old "STEAL MY SPELLBOOK", but wizards survive somehow. The gen is a disadvantage in that it provides a hook if the DM wants to mandate a screwjob, but so is the spellbook or the conventional familiar - and if you don't have any of those three, the DM can still find a way to hit you with a screwjob if he wants to. The DM screwjob is not a part of the class as written, so... yeah. If the DM decides to screw you over for being a sha'ir with added penalties that aren't in the book, the sha'ir is clearly a weaker class under that DM.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 02:39:26 AM
A spellbook stays with you.  The only way somebody is going to get it is if they pry it out of your cold, dead, fingers.

Your gen is inherently out of your control in a way a spellbook isn't.

If I wanted to go up against a sha'ir, I know exactly where I'm going to hit him. 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 02:43:41 AM
A spellbook stays with you.  The only way somebody is going to get it is if they pry it out of your cold, dead, fingers.

Your gen is inherently out of your control in a way a spellbook isn't.

If I wanted to go up against a sha'ir, I know exactly where I'm going to hit him. 

And if your DM rules that every time you send him out spell-fetching he is bombarded with assassins, yes, life is going to suck.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Prime32 on January 19, 2011, 02:53:24 AM
Given that the game assumes you'll end up fighting extraplanar foes, having a big extraplanar "kick me" sign isn't exactly the best class feature.
Neither is having a big old "STEAL MY SPELLBOOK"
Barbarians have a sign saying "CUT OFF MY ARMS" then. :p
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 03:00:29 AM
Barbarians have a sign saying "CUT OFF MY ARMS" then. :p

And sorcerers have "TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY HERETOFORE UNDISCOVERED DRACONIC ALLERGY TO PEANUTS", yes.

The point is, the DM can use anyone's class features for a screwjob. At least, anyone with interesting class features - fighters are relatively safe from having their own class features turned against them!
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 03:24:57 AM
Hey, let's say you're Superman.  Everybody and their dog knows that your weakness is Lois Lane.

Now let's say that, in addition to his well-known kryptonite vulnerability, Superman will also lose his powers for a day if Lois is dead.


What is Lex Luthor going to do?



I'm willing to agree it's tier 1 if you're allowed to reprepare spells after your timer runs out for them, but I don't think that's supported by the text.  When a spell slot is expended, it's described as the energy being expended or lost; I don't really see that saying the power of your spell harmlessly dissipates is really that different.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 03:31:33 AM
I'm willing to agree it's tier 1 if you're allowed to reprepare spells after your timer runs out for them, but I don't think that's supported by the text.  When a spell slot is expended, it's described as the energy being expended or lost; I don't really see that saying the power of your spell harmlessly dissipates is really that different.

"The power to cast the spell harmlessly dissipates" can mean two things. "Power" can mean "the energy required" ("the flashlight is powered by the battery") or it can mean "the ability to do something" ("I possess the power of flight!"). If the ability to cast the spell harmlessly dissipates, nothing has been lost - nothing's been expended, you just need to get the ability up again.

If the energy of the spell harmlessly dissipates, of course, then... um... well, actually, there's no reason to assume that counts as the spell being cast. The text doesn't say it counts as a spell cast, and every time the sha'ir's limitation on casting is expressed it is explicitly spells cast; nothing is said about how many times you can send your gen to fetch a spell.

If you're worried about the fluff ("The spell's energy is lost! How can you cast a spell whose energy is lost?") perhaps the limitation is on your ability to channel the energy, not the gen's ability to fetch it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on January 19, 2011, 03:33:15 AM
When a spell slot is expended, it's described as the energy being expended or lost; I don't really see that saying the power of your spell harmlessly dissipates is really that different.

I have a hypothesis about this actually: The person who wrote the Sha'ir didn't understand Jack Vance's magic system (which DnD cribbed).


Hence the fucked up spellcasting rules behind it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 03:35:53 AM
Quote
Once retrieved, a spell remains in a sha'ir's memory, like a wizard's prepared spell, until cast or until a number of hours pass equal to the sha'ir's character level.
So if it remains in his memory like a wizard's prepared spell, then losing it should prevent you from preparing in that slot again.  Just like a wizard.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 03:50:02 AM
Quote
Once retrieved, a spell remains in a sha'ir's memory, like a wizard's prepared spell, until cast or until a number of hours pass equal to the sha'ir's character level.
So if it remains in his memory like a wizard's prepared spell, then losing it should prevent you from preparing in that slot again.  Just like a wizard.

Hm. Out of curiosity, are there any extant effects which do this to wizards without the "as if the spell had been cast" note? I'm sure there are, because proofreading is not WOTC's strong suit, but the most popular one (negative levels) explicitly states that it's as if the spell had been cast.

(For what it's worth, there appears to be an extant clarification from Paizo that not losing your spell/day is the intention, but that's a rather weak argument to make.)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on January 19, 2011, 04:14:12 AM
I think the spellthief (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a) is a good example.

It even includes the quote "A spellthief must cast a stolen spell (or use its energy to cast one of his own spells) within 1 hour of stealing it; otherwise, the extra spell energy fades harmlessly away", which seems like a good parallel passage.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 04:23:40 AM
I think the spellthief (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a) is a good example.

It even includes the quote "A spellthief must cast a stolen spell (or use its energy to cast one of his own spells) within 1 hour of stealing it; otherwise, the extra spell energy fades harmlessly away", which seems like a good parallel passage.

I don't think that passage is exactly a parallel - or, if it is, it's one that favors my reading, since the spell energy fading harmlessly doesn't affect the spellthief's ability to steal and cast more spells.

Anyhow, you can make a case for the spells being count as cast on that grounds, and if the DM takes that reading, then yes, a low-level sha'ir is significantly weakened - I'm not sure whether that makes the sha'ir T2, or "tier 1 at mid-high levels, tier butt at low levels". If the DM takes the reading that it doesn't count as cast (which I also believe is a reasonable reading, and there is reason to believe is the intended reading), the sha'ir is inarguably T1.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 19, 2011, 07:36:25 AM
Wait, where is the Sha'ir printed?

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 07:40:32 AM
Wait, where is the Sha'ir printed?

JaronK

Dragon Magazine Compendium.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on January 19, 2011, 03:27:10 PM
I think the spellthief (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a) is a good example.

It even includes the quote "A spellthief must cast a stolen spell (or use its energy to cast one of his own spells) within 1 hour of stealing it; otherwise, the extra spell energy fades harmlessly away", which seems like a good parallel passage.

I don't think that passage is exactly a parallel - or, if it is, it's one that favors my reading, since the spell energy fading harmlessly doesn't affect the spellthief's ability to steal and cast more spells.

Anyhow, you can make a case for the spells being count as cast on that grounds, and if the DM takes that reading, then yes, a low-level sha'ir is significantly weakened - I'm not sure whether that makes the sha'ir T2, or "tier 1 at mid-high levels, tier butt at low levels". If the DM takes the reading that it doesn't count as cast (which I also believe is a reasonable reading, and there is reason to believe is the intended reading), the sha'ir is inarguably T1.
I believe the length of this argument belies the claim of the Sha'ir being "inarguably" Tier 1....
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on January 19, 2011, 03:28:49 PM
While the class has theoretical Tier 1 potential, I still think the extreme hassle of actually playing one would prevent it from ever reaching its true potential until the higher levels, i.e. until a spell won't dissipate during a normal adventuring day.

For instance, at level 1 a Sha'ir will need to get new spells every hour, or basically constantly have his gen fetchign spells to replenish those that dropped out. (And seriously, saying the dissipated spells count as cast is ridiculous.)
Now a strict GM could ask a player to actually DO that paperwork, and also mention every time the Gen is sent out. And that... would just kill all the fun. And with rising levels, the player would potentially have to do more and more paperwork, what with rolling every fricking interval for the Gen to get the spell.
That's a mechanic that just doesn't work, as written. The only way to play it would be to say, hey, get your spells in the background, I don't give a damn until you get a spell you don't know or a divine spell.

Also, the Diplo check:
Let's say the Sha'ir has 18Cha at level 1, and 4 ranks in Diplo: The DC is 20. The bonus is 8, +1 for level 1, +2 for a known spells, -2 for a level 1 spell = 11. That's just over 50%. And don't tell me I should take a crappy feat (with the possible exception of Nymph's kiss) to improve that chance.

At level 10, the Shair has, say, 24 Cha, and 13 ranks. That's a +20 bonus, +2 for spells known, +10 for Shair levels = 32. So at level 10 you can definitely get a level 5 spell known (-10 to the check).  For an unknown arcane spell, you still get it. For an unknown divine spell you're back to rolling, after having to wait for X hours for the spell. (And a 5th level spell could take 11 hours to get!)

So while that mechanic is marginally better than a Truespeak DC, it still sucks.

The class is interesting, and has high theoretical potential, but only if you actually REMOVE all the hassle involved with it. In which case it's just a Tier 1 wizard with access to some divine spells.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 19, 2011, 07:18:19 PM
So, I'm reading it over... it only casts on the Sorc/Wiz list plus a few hard to get divine spells (didn't notice anything amazing there).  It's basically a Sorcerer that then has access to the rest of the list, very much like a Sorcerer 5/Master of the Arcane Order 10 might have, really.  That seems pretty straight forward.  You also get a Planar Ally ability for genies, but considering you have Planar Binding anyway I'm not really sure what the point is there.

Also, note that the spells per day are spells cast, not spells retrieved.  I'm pretty sure if you let the spell go without casting it they don't count, per RAW.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 07:32:26 PM
I believe the length of this argument belies the claim of the Sha'ir being "inarguably" Tier 1....

Except that other than a DM interpreting unused spells as being cast (which is a serious problem at low levels if your DM does it), all the arguments against it have been either about things that have no bearing on whether it's Tier 1 (seriously, if scrolls are that big a deal you can take it as a first-level feat) or about things that are factually untrue (the assertion that sha'ir can't prepare spells on the fly when that's their central class ability.)

While the class has theoretical Tier 1 potential, I still think the extreme hassle of actually playing one would prevent it from ever reaching its true potential until the higher levels, i.e. until a spell won't dissipate during a normal adventuring day.

For instance, at level 1 a Sha'ir will need to get new spells every hour, or basically constantly have his gen fetchign spells to replenish those that dropped out. (And seriously, saying the dissipated spells count as cast is ridiculous.)
Now a strict GM could ask a player to actually DO that paperwork, and also mention every time the Gen is sent out. And that... would just kill all the fun. And with rising levels, the player would potentially have to do more and more paperwork, what with rolling every fricking interval for the Gen to get the spell.
That's a mechanic that just doesn't work, as written. The only way to play it would be to say, hey, get your spells in the background, I don't give a damn until you get a spell you don't know or a divine spell.

Also, the Diplo check:
Let's say the Sha'ir has 18Cha at level 1, and 4 ranks in Diplo: The DC is 20. The bonus is 8, +1 for level 1, +2 for a known spells, -2 for a level 1 spell = 11. That's just over 50%. And don't tell me I should take a crappy feat (with the possible exception of Nymph's kiss) to improve that chance.

At level 10, the Shair has, say, 24 Cha, and 13 ranks. That's a +20 bonus, +2 for spells known, +10 for Shair levels = 32. So at level 10 you can definitely get a level 5 spell known (-10 to the check).  For an unknown arcane spell, you still get it. For an unknown divine spell you're back to rolling, after having to wait for X hours for the spell. (And a 5th level spell could take 11 hours to get!)

So while that mechanic is marginally better than a Truespeak DC, it still sucks.

The class is interesting, and has high theoretical potential, but only if you actually REMOVE all the hassle involved with it. In which case it's just a Tier 1 wizard with access to some divine spells.

Both problems can be largely mitigated by taking 10 on your Diplomacy check. If you pick up one or more of Diplomacy's synergy skills (Bluff and Sense Motive are both on your class list), you don't need Diplo-increasing feats to reliably pick up unknown spells after first level. The sha'ir does face minor MAD in this regard: you basically need a high enough Int to have extra skill points, because they're mechanically reliant on three skills, benefit from having skill points beyond that, and only have 2+int per level.

There could be a lot of potential bookkeeping involved with "what spells did I get when", although it's only likely to be an issue if you get attacked exactly X hours after your last major load-up.

So, I'm reading it over... it only casts on the Sorc/Wiz list plus a few hard to get divine spells (didn't notice anything amazing there).  It's basically a Sorcerer that then has access to the rest of the list, very much like a Sorcerer 5/Master of the Arcane Order 10 might have, really.  That seems pretty straight forward.  You also get a Planar Ally ability for genies, but considering you have Planar Binding anyway I'm not really sure what the point is there.

Also, note that the spells per day are spells cast, not spells retrieved.  I'm pretty sure if you let the spell go without casting it they don't count, per RAW.

JaronK

It's a little more like a Cha-driven wizard than a sorcerer in my opinion, since it fetches spells in advance and the "spells known" don't have a major impact on what spells you can actually prepare. The advanced class abilities aren't terribly interesting. As for the divine spellcasting, there are a couple of potentially interesting things on there (Find the Path, Miracle) but mostly my inclination is to ignore the divine spells except as an easy route to qualify for divine PrCs (Skypledged, Contemplative, Dweomerkeeper).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 19, 2011, 07:38:42 PM
It's a little more like a Cha-driven wizard than a sorcerer in my opinion, since it fetches spells in advance and the "spells known" don't have a major impact on what spells you can actually prepare. The advanced class abilities aren't terribly interesting. As for the divine spellcasting, there are a couple of potentially interesting things on there (Find the Path, Miracle) but mostly my inclination is to ignore the divine spells except as an easy route to qualify for divine PrCs (Skypledged, Contemplative, Dweomerkeeper).

Yeah, the divine casting, at least until 18, is pretty much just for qualifications.  Useful, but not that impressive.  Still, the spell retrieval somewhat on the fly could be quite good in some games (like ones where you have a scouting character that can tell you what's ahead, so you can send your Gen off for just the right spell).  In others (ones where the DM is constantly ambushing you) that could be a serious liability, especially if they decided that fetched spells that dissipated counted as cast for some reason.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 07:44:29 PM
It's a little more like a Cha-driven wizard than a sorcerer in my opinion, since it fetches spells in advance and the "spells known" don't have a major impact on what spells you can actually prepare. The advanced class abilities aren't terribly interesting. As for the divine spellcasting, there are a couple of potentially interesting things on there (Find the Path, Miracle) but mostly my inclination is to ignore the divine spells except as an easy route to qualify for divine PrCs (Skypledged, Contemplative, Dweomerkeeper).

Yeah, the divine casting, at least until 18, is pretty much just for qualifications.  Useful, but not that impressive.  Still, the spell retrieval somewhat on the fly could be quite good in some games (like ones where you have a scouting character that can tell you what's ahead, so you can send your Gen off for just the right spell).  In others (ones where the DM is constantly ambushing you) that could be a serious liability, especially if they decided that fetched spells that dissipated counted as cast for some reason.

JaronK

If the DM is constantly ambushing you (or even if he's not, really) I would tend to prepare a loadout of useful spells and play more or less like a wizard who has to say "by the way, when my spells run out I'm sending my gen to get them back and taking 10 on the diplo check". It does suck if you get ambushed during this period, though. If you feel fancy you could prepare your spells in two chunks with a half-hour between them so you're never fully depleted as a result of timeout, but it depends on how likely you think your DM is to ambush your characters during this time period. I'd be more inclined to pick up a couple of wands to fall back on during that kind of ambush just to save the hassle.

Even if I'm preloading I would prefer to leave some of the lower-level slots free to fill on-the-fly for odd situational spells, though. Since, well, that's sort of the main draw of the class.

Edit: The sha'ir handbook thread has a list of which spells on the sha'ir's domains either aren't on the wizard list or are earlier on the domain lists. There are actually a few nice ones I'd forgotten about which could be worth sending your gen out for overnight: Freedom Of Movement, Control Winds, early True Seeing, and Word of Chaos/Dictum can all be nice to have. Not huge gamebreakers, but probably worth keeping in mind.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 19, 2011, 07:47:32 PM
Like I said, that constant ambush scenario (and I've definitely dealt with DMs who like doing that) would get FAR worse if they counted dissipated spells as cast.  You couldn't preload and would be in severe trouble.  Then again, all classes have instances of being weak when the DM makes a campaign particularly hard on them (I had a Rogue in a game where the DM sent nothing but undead against us, and that was before the various methods of sneak attacking undead existed.  God that sucked).

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on January 19, 2011, 07:53:57 PM
Like I said, that constant ambush scenario (and I've definitely dealt with DMs who like doing that) would get FAR worse if they counted dissipated spells as cast.  You couldn't preload and would be in severe trouble.  Then again, all classes have instances of being weak when the DM makes a campaign particularly hard on them (I had a Rogue in a game where the DM sent nothing but undead against us, and that was before the various methods of sneak attacking undead existed.  God that sucked).

JaronK

I completely agree that a DM who counts timed-out spells as cast is going to make a sha'ir a lot harder. On the other hand, I don't think that's the RAW, and there's good reason to believe it's not the RAI, so I don't tend to think of that as the default scenario or even quite the same thing as "rogues are weak against an undead-heavy campaign", since the latter is a weakness inherent to the way the rogue's rules work.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on January 19, 2011, 08:06:19 PM
Yeah, by my reading of the class only spells you actually cast should count, which means it shouldn't be too hard for you to keep up a full set of your known spells ready to roll and then bust out the specialized spells when needed.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on January 24, 2011, 04:46:29 PM
What would you people say a rules lawyerish ruling that let a class get multiple ACFs based on the wording not being an exchange?
Like a Sneak Attack Thug Fighter variant getting Dungeon Crasher, Elusive Strike,  Counter Attack, Overpowering Attack.

Alternatively the non Raw of just tossing every ACF onto the class to up its tier  rating.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tenebrus on February 15, 2011, 08:20:37 PM
Seems like this thread has the expertise I need.

How many spell-casting levels do you think should be added into Master of Flies to make it a) worth it; b) Tier 3 or so; c) balanced?  Or is it unsavable?  Lots of flavor in that PrC.  Swarm Shifter also, if you waive the Undead requirement.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on February 15, 2011, 11:47:34 PM
Seems like this thread has the expertise I need.

How many spell-casting levels do you think should be added into Master of Flies to make it a) worth it; b) Tier 3 or so; c) balanced?  Or is it unsavable?  Lots of flavor in that PrC.  Swarm Shifter also, if you waive the Undead requirement.
Where is that PrC from?

Keep in mind that the direct power isn't in the levels of the spells themselves, but the spell list. A Warmage doesn't get that many utility spells on his list, which is why he sucks as a spellcaster despite 9th level spells (compared to, say, the Beguiler, whose spell list is almost as easily resisted).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Shadeseraph on February 15, 2011, 11:50:29 PM
Seems like this thread has the expertise I need.

How many spell-casting levels do you think should be added into Master of Flies to make it a) worth it; b) Tier 3 or so; c) balanced?  Or is it unsavable?  Lots of flavor in that PrC.  Swarm Shifter also, if you waive the Undead requirement.
Where is that PrC from?

Keep in mind that the direct power isn't in the levels of the spells themselves, but the spell list. A Warmage doesn't get that many utility spells on his list, which is why he sucks as a spellcaster despite 9th level spells (compared to, say, the Beguiler, whose spell list is almost as easily resisted).

Savage Species, but it isn't a caster class. It's just that druids can access it. It's a class for shapeshifters in general.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on February 16, 2011, 12:01:26 AM
Seems like this thread has the expertise I need.

How many spell-casting levels do you think should be added into Master of Flies to make it a) worth it; b) Tier 3 or so; c) balanced?  Or is it unsavable?  Lots of flavor in that PrC.  Swarm Shifter also, if you waive the Undead requirement.
Where is that PrC from?

Keep in mind that the direct power isn't in the levels of the spells themselves, but the spell list. A Warmage doesn't get that many utility spells on his list, which is why he sucks as a spellcaster despite 9th level spells (compared to, say, the Beguiler, whose spell list is almost as easily resisted).

Savage Species, but it isn't a caster class. It's just that druids can access it. It's a class for shapeshifters in general.

Well, the Druid's spell list isn't made of sheer amounts of awesome, but it doesn't suck horribly either. The abilities of that PrC mostly work off total level instead of class level, making them more desirable than usual. All in all, you're eating up a lot to become more specialized around insects and vermin.

I'd say 7/10 casting would be fair. You don't lose 9th level spells, but then again your list isn't too awesome to begin with.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on February 16, 2011, 12:03:50 AM
How many spell-casting levels do you think should be added into Master of Flies to make it a) worth it; b) Tier 3 or so; c) balanced?  Or is it unsavable?  Lots of flavor in that PrC.  Swarm Shifter also, if you waive the Undead requirement.
If it had full casting it would be a worse choice then straight Druid levels. You give up standard Wild Shape and Animal Companion progression. I see no reason why not to just give it full spellcasting. The class has some other strange quirks to it that I'd change too but the biggest thing would be spellcasting.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tenebrus on February 16, 2011, 12:14:10 AM
Hurm.  Okay, what would you say to making a feat that emulates Swarm Shifter (from Liber Mortis, the Book of Bad Latin)?  It's a +1 template for Undead.  I have no problem punting the Undead part, and requirements could be something like Child of Winter (Eberron), Kno/Nature 9, Wild Shape or other shape changing ability, ability to assume vermin shape (there are some exiting feats that do this, I believe).  How's that sound?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on February 16, 2011, 12:20:36 AM
You mean like the city shape ACF?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tenebrus on February 16, 2011, 12:54:08 AM
Like that, yes, as a preq for the swarm form.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on February 16, 2011, 06:37:13 AM
If it had full casting it would be a worse choice then straight Druid levels. You give up standard Wild Shape and Animal Companion progression. I see no reason why not to just give it full spellcasting. The class has some other strange quirks to it that I'd change too but the biggest thing would be spellcasting.

Worth noting is that a changeling of pretty much any class can qualify easily, so it won't necessarily be using the druid spell list.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on February 16, 2011, 06:53:34 AM
Would Martial Monk, on the assumption that you don't need to meet the prereqs, be Tier 4? A 100 point of damage fireball at level 1, once per encounter seems kind of nice.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on February 16, 2011, 02:09:00 PM
It's actually pretty solid for several levels until you start fighting fire-resistant enemies, but it doesn't do much after that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on February 16, 2011, 03:08:37 PM
It has 3 of those feats, so 2 9th level strikes, and an 8th level stance. Or 3 level stances.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tyal-Kelvar on February 17, 2011, 12:31:12 AM
Actually, even if the martial monk ignores the prerequisite for the feat... well, just note that it'd only do the feat prerequisite.  Martial study doesn't require a certain level or some many previous maneuvers of the discipline.  It allows you to pick a maneuver that you meet the requirement for.  Therefore picking a 9th level maneuver at level 1 would not so much be a thing of ignoring the feat prereq, as it would be ignoring the requirements of using the feat, like say getting a divine feat via this and then having inf uses because you are ignoring the conditions for use.

Hence only decent stuff from martial monk ignoring pre-reqs would... well, most likely be only epic feats, and even then I can't think of any decent ones there.  Better ones than non-epic feats, yes, but nothing actually powerful enough to make a monk awesome.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on February 17, 2011, 01:46:19 AM
Actually, even if the martial monk ignores the prerequisite for the feat... well, just note that it'd only do the feat prerequisite.  Martial study doesn't require a certain level or some many previous maneuvers of the discipline.  It allows you to pick a maneuver that you meet the requirement for.  Therefore picking a 9th level maneuver at level 1 would not so much be a thing of ignoring the feat prereq, as it would be ignoring the requirements of using the feat, like say getting a divine feat via this and then having inf uses because you are ignoring the conditions for use.

Hence only decent stuff from martial monk ignoring pre-reqs would... well, most likely be only epic feats, and even then I can't think of any decent ones there.  Better ones than non-epic feats, yes, but nothing actually powerful enough to make a monk awesome.
One of which includes initiator level and five other DW maneuvers - and you can only take the feat up to three times.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on February 17, 2011, 08:34:40 AM
Hence only decent stuff from martial monk ignoring pre-reqs would... well, most likely be only epic feats, and even then I can't think of any decent ones there.  Better ones than non-epic feats, yes, but nothing actually powerful enough to make a monk awesome.

Epic Toughness at level 1 might not be bad, and Distant Shot for an archer isn't bad either.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on February 17, 2011, 10:17:54 AM
Hence only decent stuff from martial monk ignoring pre-reqs would... well, most likely be only epic feats, and even then I can't think of any decent ones there.  Better ones than non-epic feats, yes, but nothing actually powerful enough to make a monk awesome.

Epic Toughness at level 1 might not be bad, and Distant Shot for an archer isn't bad either.

JaronK

Are they on the normal fighter list, though?  They're on the epic fighter list, but I'm not sure if that's the same thing.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on February 17, 2011, 10:36:07 AM
Are they on the normal fighter list, though?  They're on the epic fighter list, but I'm not sure if that's the same thing.

I thought that was the same thing.  I dunno, I don't actually play in epic.  Weapon Supremacy (Unarmed Strike) would certainly be nice, as would Shock Trooper without Improved Bull Rush to skip a feat.  Spirited Charge without needing Mounted Combat or Ride By Attack might be worthwhile too.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on February 17, 2011, 01:00:12 PM
Therefore picking a 9th level maneuver at level 1 would not so much be a thing of ignoring the feat prereq, as it would be ignoring the requirements of using the feat, like say getting a divine feat via this and then having inf uses because you are ignoring the conditions for use.
I think you're right, there.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 04, 2011, 11:46:35 AM
Does reading a bad class ever really piss you off? It upsets me a lot.

In what Tier would you put the Soulborn from Magic of Incarnum? I looked through the first post and I didn't see it. I think it's Tier 5, but have less optimization skill than many on these boards.

As for why I think it's Tier 5:

Due to their extremely limited meldshaping ability and barren class features, the Soulborn fits no role they don't choose and they must specialize a lot to fill that role even marginally well.

It has a single unique alignment-specific class feature of limited power, Incarnum Defense, the benefits of which are widely available from other sources. Almost all of those other sources are easier investments than two class levels (The level at which Soulborns acquire Incarnum Defense).

To appear fighter-like, the Soulborn gains a pathetic three bonus feats from a limited list.

The Soulborn is barely worthy of being considered a meldshaping class, since it must wait for FOURTH LEVEL before it can shape any soulmelds at all. Any other character who takes the Shape Soulmeld feat can shape soulmelds earlier, and in fact the Soulborn must wait even LONGER (6th level) to even get any essentia!

Also the Soulborn only has half of its soulborn levels count towards meldshaper level. What a slap in the face!

In addition to the above, the Soulborn gets very few unique soulmelds. In fact, you can get the Soulborn-exclusive soulmelds before the Soulborn with the Shape Soulmeld feat. If ever there was a class that needed a doctor, this is it.

Of the five Soulborn-exclusive Soulmelds I counted (Fearsome Mask, Gloves of the Poisoned Soul, Mauling Gauntlets, Soulspeaker Circlet, and Thunderstep Boots), maybe 2 out of 5 are worth anything. The best ones might be worth the feats to use them but they're definitely not worth the four Soulborn levels to use.

Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack would be good, but there are a few hiccups named SR, fear, mind-affecting, and will save. IF your enemy is vulnerable to fear and mind-affecting while also possessing no SR (remember the Soulborn uses half their levels for meldshaper level, so you're never overoming anyone's SR) and an abysmal will save then MAYBE you'll scare them.

Gloves of the Poisoned Soul: These give you a pretty good poison. Too bad it allows a save, thereby depleting a lot of its use.

Mauling Gauntlets: These are actually pretty good. Don't think about the hands bind, it'll just piss you off (If you are binding it to your hands then you probably have Improved Unarmed Strike. The hands bind... gives you Improved Unarmed Strike. The damage bonus is nice though.)

Soulspeaker Circlet: The throat bind gives you telepathy without calling it telepathy, so an ass GM could deny you, but if they don't there's your ticket to Mindsight. Largely utility, I like that this soulmeld basically allows you to change your languages known from day-to-day. The problem is that you need the Crown bind to speak the languages. It's also pretty wonky that the throat bind gives you telepathy and the crown bind gives you the ability to speak languages, because it seems like they should be vice versa. Perhaps this is further proof that whoever made the class was a stoned asshole.

Thunderstep Boots: A wee bit of additional sonic damage on a charge. If you invested a lot into this soulmeld you might be doing an additional 7d4 - on a charge - at level 20. Get pounce and it might add up, but if you don't have pounce don't even think about it, ever. If you bind it to your feat you can stun someone - if they fail a fortitude save - if they're vulnerable to stunning.

Oh and they also get smite. Since they don't get it at will, it doesn't save the class. The 20th level capstone is a fifth smite per day.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on March 04, 2011, 12:33:53 PM
Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack you get from binding this blows, so don't bother binding it.
What? It has no stated range, enemies who make their saves are not immune, and it says nothing ont he subject of fear stacking. This would lead me to think it defaults to unlimited range (as long as they can see you), enemies keep making saves every round, and if they're already Shaken, they can escalate to Frightened and then Panicked. That sounds pretty good to me.

Overall, though, I'm pretty sure you're right about the tier. The Soulborn is basically a Paladin with shitty meldshaping instead of shitty spellcasting, and the Pally is Tier 5, so yeah.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 04, 2011, 01:22:47 PM
Well the rules for gaze attacks make it likely that the range is 30 feet, which doesn't even require a dick GM to fuck you. However I'll remove the "this blows" part.

Another note on the Soulborn sucking: A creature with no class levels has a higher meldshaper level than a Soulborn (pg. 53-54).

Almost every monster in any Monster Manual will have a higher meldshaper level than a same-level Soulborn. They won't be able to shape soulmelds without the Shape Soulmeld feat, but the important part is that they shit on the soulborn simply by existing. Take a soulmeld with a meldshaper level-dependent effect, have as many HD as the Soulborn has levels, and you are more capable with that soulmeld than the Soulborn before essentia and binds come into play (Which the Soulborn doesn't have for its first levels).

A commoner with Leadership can bring more meldshaping to to the table than a Soulborn.


The truth is that the team behind Magic of Incarnum had a really cool idea but applied way too many nerfs. Every single one of those classes was inappropriately held back, and you can see where the developers went limp for fear of getting their wrist slapped. So either the design team was too timid and terrified of making something "overpowered" or the editors were assholes. Either way the Soulborn feels incomplete, inadequate, and just overall very poorly done. If Soulmelds weren't flexible and cool the class features of the Soulborn would slap it down to Tier 6 easily.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 04, 2011, 03:12:06 PM
Well the rules for gaze attacks make it likely that the range is 30 feet, which doesn't even require a dick GM to fuck you. However I'll remove the "this blows" part.

Another note on the Soulborn sucking: A creature with no class levels has a higher meldshaper level than a Soulborn (pg. 53-54).

Almost every monster in any Monster Manual will have a higher meldshaper level than a same-level Soulborn. They won't be able to shape soulmelds without the Shape Soulmeld feat, but the important part is that they shit on the soulborn simply by existing. Take a soulmeld with a meldshaper level-dependent effect, have as many HD as the Soulborn has levels, and you are more capable with that soulmeld than the Soulborn before essentia and binds come into play (Which the Soulborn doesn't have for its first levels).

A commoner with Leadership can bring more meldshaping to to the table than a Soulborn.


The truth is that the team behind Magic of Incarnum had a really cool idea but applied way too many nerfs. Every single one of those classes was inappropriately held back, and you can see where the developers went limp for fear of getting their wrist slapped. So either the design team was too timid and terrified of making something "overpowered" or the editors were assholes. Either way the Soulborn feels incomplete, inadequate, and just overall very poorly done. If Soulmelds weren't flexible and cool the class features of the Soulborn would slap it down to Tier 6 easily.

The Soulborn completely sucks, and the Incarnate SHOULD have been at least a 3/4 BAB class. BUT the totemist rocks, and Incarnum in general rocks, too. (It's clearly better than Pact Magic, at least, even though some select tricks may put pact magic ahead.)

The trouble with the Incarnum classes is once again the predicament of D&D design and base attack bonus: For some reason, the designers think BAB is the strongest thing there is, while in fact it's really just a miniscule feature.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on March 04, 2011, 03:42:03 PM
I don't have much experience with Incarnum, but Pact Magic can be pretty awesome, particularly when you place Anima Mage in the mix.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 04, 2011, 03:51:11 PM
I don't have much experience with Incarnum, but Pact Magic can be pretty awesome, particularly when you place Anima Mage in the mix.

Isn't Anima Mage just "I have aesthetic Pact Magic that allows me to cast more spells and use more metamagic"? Or "I am in the Tome of Magic but I'm really just another caster PrC that enhances casting"?

You suppress the powers of your bound vestige (thereby ignoring the mechanical benefits of Pact Magic) to use metamagic (Enhancing your pre-ToM spells). This seems less like a synergistic combination of things and more like original D&D casting ignoring the new shit just to enhance original D&D casting.

The Anima Mage doesn't do anything with Pact Magic except ignore it.

I'm not saying the Anima Mage isn't good, I'm just saying a compliment to Anima Mage is not a compliment to Pact Magic. It's just more buffing casters. You could just as easily suppress your Soulmelds or ignore the benefits of a stance. It's all just propping up the already well-propped casters by ignoring newer material.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 04, 2011, 04:07:07 PM
Not quite.  Anima Mage requires you suppressing one vestige, but you probably have at least two bound.  When you decide you don't need the vestige (let's face it, Buer is useful out of combat, not so much in), then you suppress it for free metamagic.  Otherwise, you have new capabilities.  Regardless, you still have another vestige sitting there.

Pact Magic itself is pretty good.  A lot of varied abilities there even without going into the online vestiges.  The fact you can change up daily and you get decent benefits from having a pact (immunity to energy drain is amazing) as a straight Binder are nice as well.  Plus, Binder is probably the most versatile class as far as builds are concerned: you can go a little or a lot and the Binder really isn't hurt.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on March 04, 2011, 04:18:44 PM
Isn't Anima Mage just "I have aesthetic Pact Magic that allows me to cast more spells and use more metamagic"? Or "I am in the Tome of Magic but I'm really just another caster PrC that enhances casting"?

You suppress the powers of your bound vestige (thereby ignoring the mechanical benefits of Pact Magic) to use metamagic (Enhancing your pre-ToM spells). This seems less like a synergistic combination of things and more like original D&D casting ignoring the new shit just to enhance original D&D casting.

The Anima Mage doesn't do anything with Pact Magic except ignore it.

But it allows for synergy between casting and pacts.  For example, Astaroth gives you any item creation feat you want when you bind him.  Combine that with Anima Mage casting, and now you can actually make items on your own (otherwise you don't have the prerequisites).  Naberius combos amazingly with Sanctified and Corrupted spells.  And Pact Magic works all day, so it lets you do things when you'd otherwise want to avoid using spell slots.

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 04, 2011, 04:24:23 PM
Yes, which feels more like Pact Magic and original D&D casting working whenever they work and not relating to each other much except when it behooves original D&D casting to ignore Pact Magic.

It doesn't matter, like I said I wasn't dissing the class, I just don't think it really has anything to do with Pact Magic. As I said you could just as easily suppress a soulmeld or forgo the benefits of a stance, "Pact Magic" is mechanically irrelevant to the Anima mage's primary class features. There is no "give up a spell to gain more [vestige stuff]." It's just "cast and have vestiges, or ignore vestiges to cast."
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kuroimaken on March 04, 2011, 07:46:32 PM
I find that many of the Vestige abilities allow you to shore up both on the defensive and offensive front, lending itself nicely to gishes.

Naberius has been mentioned to death, but being able to heal ability damage/drain is REALLY awesome, and it's something Arcane Magic simply DOES NOT LET YOU DO. Not without jumping through a couple of hoops anyway.

The fact that all Vestige Abilities are supernatural (and thus not subject to dispelling) means you get something to do when someone goes "haha, Dispel Magic" on your buffs, too.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 04, 2011, 08:25:06 PM
Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack you get from binding this blows, so don't bother binding it.
What? It has no stated range, enemies who make their saves are not immune, and it says nothing ont he subject of fear stacking. This would lead me to think it defaults to unlimited range (as long as they can see you), enemies keep making saves every round, and if they're already Shaken, they can escalate to Frightened and then Panicked. That sounds pretty good to me.

Overall, though, I'm pretty sure you're right about the tier. The Soulborn is basically a Paladin with shitty meldshaping instead of shitty spellcasting, and the Pally is Tier 5, so yeah.

You are forgetting that it allows a saving throw, thus is subject to SR. Because neither the Soulborn or Shape Soulmeld feat give you a decent ML to use the Fearsome Mask with, you end up never being able to use it past 6th level.



The Thunderstep Boots are there for people who have pounce. It applies to all attacks made on a charge, thus that's 7d4*# of attacks you can make.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on March 04, 2011, 08:51:09 PM
Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack you get from binding this blows, so don't bother binding it.
What? It has no stated range, enemies who make their saves are not immune, and it says nothing ont he subject of fear stacking. This would lead me to think it defaults to unlimited range (as long as they can see you), enemies keep making saves every round, and if they're already Shaken, they can escalate to Frightened and then Panicked. That sounds pretty good to me.

Overall, though, I'm pretty sure you're right about the tier. The Soulborn is basically a Paladin with shitty meldshaping instead of shitty spellcasting, and the Pally is Tier 5, so yeah.

You are forgetting that it allows a saving throw, thus is subject to SR. Because neither the Soulborn or Shape Soulmeld feat give you a decent ML to use the Fearsome Mask with, you end up never being able to use it past 6th level.
That's news to me. Where does it say that any meld that allows a save also allows SR?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bozwevial on March 05, 2011, 04:55:33 AM
Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack you get from binding this blows, so don't bother binding it.
What? It has no stated range, enemies who make their saves are not immune, and it says nothing ont he subject of fear stacking. This would lead me to think it defaults to unlimited range (as long as they can see you), enemies keep making saves every round, and if they're already Shaken, they can escalate to Frightened and then Panicked. That sounds pretty good to me.

Overall, though, I'm pretty sure you're right about the tier. The Soulborn is basically a Paladin with shitty meldshaping instead of shitty spellcasting, and the Pally is Tier 5, so yeah.

You are forgetting that it allows a saving throw, thus is subject to SR. Because neither the Soulborn or Shape Soulmeld feat give you a decent ML to use the Fearsome Mask with, you end up never being able to use it past 6th level.
That's news to me. Where does it say that any meld that allows a save also allows SR?
Could be looking at the wrong quote, but MoI 52 says that "Spell resistance is effective against any soulmeld used to affect a creature other than the meldshaper."
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 05, 2011, 05:15:06 AM
Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack you get from binding this blows, so don't bother binding it.
What? It has no stated range, enemies who make their saves are not immune, and it says nothing ont he subject of fear stacking. This would lead me to think it defaults to unlimited range (as long as they can see you), enemies keep making saves every round, and if they're already Shaken, they can escalate to Frightened and then Panicked. That sounds pretty good to me.

Overall, though, I'm pretty sure you're right about the tier. The Soulborn is basically a Paladin with shitty meldshaping instead of shitty spellcasting, and the Pally is Tier 5, so yeah.

You are forgetting that it allows a saving throw, thus is subject to SR. Because neither the Soulborn or Shape Soulmeld feat give you a decent ML to use the Fearsome Mask with, you end up never being able to use it past 6th level.
That's news to me. Where does it say that any meld that allows a save also allows SR?
Could be looking at the wrong quote, but MoI 52 says that "Spell resistance is effective against any soulmeld used to affect a creature other than the meldshaper."

Well they are supernatural abilities.

I think the "offers a save" thing is what tells you you're officially "affecting another creature" rather than yourself. For example growing claws isn't affecting another creature with a soulmeld, it's affecting yourself (The meldshaper) and then scratching the shit out of someone with your new manicure.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 05, 2011, 05:21:57 AM
Fearsome Mask: A good intimidate-booster that is probably easily replaced (It gives an insight bonus). The gaze attack you get from binding this blows, so don't bother binding it.
What? It has no stated range, enemies who make their saves are not immune, and it says nothing ont he subject of fear stacking. This would lead me to think it defaults to unlimited range (as long as they can see you), enemies keep making saves every round, and if they're already Shaken, they can escalate to Frightened and then Panicked. That sounds pretty good to me.

Overall, though, I'm pretty sure you're right about the tier. The Soulborn is basically a Paladin with shitty meldshaping instead of shitty spellcasting, and the Pally is Tier 5, so yeah.

You are forgetting that it allows a saving throw, thus is subject to SR. Because neither the Soulborn or Shape Soulmeld feat give you a decent ML to use the Fearsome Mask with, you end up never being able to use it past 6th level.
That's news to me. Where does it say that any meld that allows a save also allows SR?
Could be looking at the wrong quote, but MoI 52 says that "Spell resistance is effective against any soulmeld used to affect a creature other than the meldshaper."

Well they are supernatural abilities.

I think the "offers a save" thing is what tells you you're officially "affecting another creature" rather than yourself. For example growing claws isn't affecting another creature with a soulmeld, it's affecting yourself (The meldshaper) and then scratching the shit out of someone with your new manicure.

Correct. It would be nice if they were more clear though.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on March 05, 2011, 06:12:37 PM
Well, fuck me running. I never noticed that sentence, nor did it cross my mind that melds might allow SR - they're (Su) abilities, why would they? Consider my opinion of Fearsome Mask revised.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 05, 2011, 07:04:00 PM
...and I modified my "reviews" of the Soulborn-specific soulmelds.

That class is a tragedy. I really do like mauling gauntlets...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 05, 2011, 07:48:02 PM
Well, fuck me running. I never noticed that sentence, nor did it cross my mind that melds might allow SR - they're (Su) abilities, why would they? Consider my opinion of Fearsome Mask revised.
It does seem like a serious consistency error. They should most certainly NOT allow SR.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 05, 2011, 09:40:23 PM
Well, fuck me running. I never noticed that sentence, nor did it cross my mind that melds might allow SR - they're (Su) abilities, why would they? Consider my opinion of Fearsome Mask revised.

Yeah, the SR thing never made sense, especially because soulmelds aren't labeled like spells are so there's really no way to tell (RAW, SR applies to the Rend damage on the Girallion Arms). The only way to make it make sense is to apply it to soulmelds that offer a saving throw to resist, which then tanks the Soulborn's soulmelds as there's no way to boost MsL.


Playing a Soulborn is like playing a CW spell-less Paladin (without Charging Smite or a Mount): You have no worthwhile class features outside of Smite.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on March 06, 2011, 01:59:16 AM
Soulmelds have SR as an attempted balancing point. Just like how Invocations are Spell-Like Abilities that don't follow 80% of SLA rules.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 06, 2011, 03:18:40 AM
Soulmelds have SR as an attempted balancing point. Just like how Invocations are Spell-Like Abilities that don't follow 80% of SLA rules.

Well, it's balanced without the SR anyway.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on March 06, 2011, 11:10:53 AM
Well, fuck me running. I never noticed that sentence, nor did it cross my mind that melds might allow SR - they're (Su) abilities, why would they? Consider my opinion of Fearsome Mask revised.

Yeah, the SR thing never made sense, especially because soulmelds aren't labeled like spells are so there's really no way to tell (RAW, SR applies to the Rend damage on the Girallion Arms). The only way to make it make sense is to apply it to soulmelds that offer a saving throw to resist, which then tanks the Soulborn's soulmelds as there's no way to boost MsL.


Playing a Soulborn is like playing a CW spell-less Paladin (without Charging Smite or a Mount): You have no worthwhile class features outside of Smite.
At least the Paladin still has Divine Grace. The Soulborn doesn't even have that.
...Unless the CW ACF substitutes Divine Grace too? I've never really looked at it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 06, 2011, 01:34:16 PM
Soulmelds have SR as an attempted balancing point. Just like how Invocations are Spell-Like Abilities that don't follow 80% of SLA rules.

Well, it's balanced without the SR anyway.
It's not.... it's better than a fighter :).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 06, 2011, 09:25:40 PM
...Unless the CW ACF substitutes Divine Grace too? I've never really looked at it.


No, it just takes away spells for SLAs that mean nothing. Like Holy Sword 1/day at 16th level with a CL of 1/2 your Paladin level, improved healing with Lay on Hands when you target your mount, automatically overcoming DR/Good, and getting a psuedo-Rage 1/ay (duration 1 minute/class level, cannot turn it off).



They really didn't think that ACF through...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 08, 2011, 09:50:39 PM
Soulborns make decent use of the Shape Soulmeld feat. A LE evil soulborn that takes Incarnate Avatar gets +4/+8 to hit and damage, which is on par with a barbarian attack and damage wise. Necrocarnum Crown is kinda comparable to a Paladins mount.

Edit-  I put the MoI Classes at 5,4,3 Soulborn, Incarnate, Totemist.  I go back and forth on whether Incarnate should be 3 or 4.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 08, 2011, 09:57:15 PM
Soulborns make decent use of the Shape Soulmeld feat. A LE evil soulborn that takes Incarnate Avatar gets +4/+8 to hit and damage, which is on par with a barbarian attack and damage wise.

That's not an argument for the Soulborn at all, but rather for the Shape Soulmeld feat, and it's still not an argument because I'm pretty sure you misunderstand how aligned soulmelds work. You cannot gain +4 to hit and +8 to damage, you gain either +4 to hit or +8 to damage.

The Incarnate Avatar Soulmeld takes the alignment descriptor you select, you cannot shape its other versions, and you must select one of the four not one from each axis.

Also if you're playing catch-up to the barbarian, you've already lost.

Allowing them to pull from two axises wouldn't break anything though. At least I don't think so. It might be a good house rule.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 08, 2011, 10:13:17 PM
That's debateable.  After all, the soulmeld is simply "Incarnate Avatar."  The alignment restrictions on soulmelds are that you can't shape any that are not of your alignment.  As such, the LE Soulborn can use the Lawful or the Evil version with the same feat.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 08, 2011, 10:25:42 PM
That's debateable.  After all, the soulmeld is simply "Incarnate Avatar."  The alignment restrictions on soulmelds are that you can't shape any that are not of your alignment.  As such, the LE Soulborn can use the Lawful or the Evil version with the same feat.

Hmm, rereading the class feature it looks like it IS debatable. While both the Incarnate and the Soulborn have a class feature called "Aligned Soulmelds," they do appear to work differently. I made the mistake of thinking they worked the same way.

So a Lawful Evil Soulborn CAN potentially play catch up to a barbarian.

Thank you for catching that, and my apologies for Ians for my own wrong-ness.

The thing is, that's still not a Soulborn-specific ability. Anyone can do that.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 08, 2011, 10:38:58 PM
That's debateable.  After all, the soulmeld is simply "Incarnate Avatar."  The alignment restrictions on soulmelds are that you can't shape any that are not of your alignment.  As such, the LE Soulborn can use the Lawful or the Evil version with the same feat.

Hmm, rereading the class feature it looks like it IS debatable. While both the Incarnate and the Soulborn have a class feature called "Aligned Soulmelds," they do appear to work differently. I made the mistake of thinking they worked the same way.

So a Lawful Evil Soulborn CAN potentially play catch up to a barbarian.

Thank you for catching that, and my apologies for Ians for my own wrong-ness.

The thing is, that's still not a Soulborn-specific ability. Anyone can do that.
Actually, only people with essentia pools of 4 or more can do that
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 08, 2011, 10:57:28 PM
That's debateable.  After all, the soulmeld is simply "Incarnate Avatar."  The alignment restrictions on soulmelds are that you can't shape any that are not of your alignment.  As such, the LE Soulborn can use the Lawful or the Evil version with the same feat.

Hmm, rereading the class feature it looks like it IS debatable. While both the Incarnate and the Soulborn have a class feature called "Aligned Soulmelds," they do appear to work differently. I made the mistake of thinking they worked the same way.

So a Lawful Evil Soulborn CAN potentially play catch up to a barbarian.

Thank you for catching that, and my apologies for Ians for my own wrong-ness.

The thing is, that's still not a Soulborn-specific ability. Anyone can do that.
Actually, only people with essentia pools of 4 or more can do that

...which anyone can do.

Shape Soulmeld
Bonus Essentia
Any Incarnum feat

In that order.

or

Lawful Evil Azurin Commoner 3
Feats:
1. Shape Soulmeld [Incarnate Avatar]
Az. [Incarnum Feat]
3. Bonus Essentia

1 essentia from Azurin
1 essentia from any Incarnum feat
2 essenta from Bonus Essentia

Just gotta expand the capacity. So.. another feat and some waiting. Soulborn would have the same restriction.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 08, 2011, 11:06:26 PM
That's debateable.  After all, the soulmeld is simply "Incarnate Avatar."  The alignment restrictions on soulmelds are that you can't shape any that are not of your alignment.  As such, the LE Soulborn can use the Lawful or the Evil version with the same feat.

Hmm, rereading the class feature it looks like it IS debatable. While both the Incarnate and the Soulborn have a class feature called "Aligned Soulmelds," they do appear to work differently. I made the mistake of thinking they worked the same way.

So a Lawful Evil Soulborn CAN potentially play catch up to a barbarian.

Thank you for catching that, and my apologies for Ians for my own wrong-ness.

The thing is, that's still not a Soulborn-specific ability. Anyone can do that.
Actually, only people with essentia pools of 4 or more can do that

...which anyone can do.

Shape Soulmeld
Bonus Essentia x2

In that order.

or

Lawful Evil Azurin Commoner 3
Feats:
1. Shape Soulmeld [Incarnate Avatar]
Az. [Incarnum Feat]
3. Bonus Essentia

1 essentia from Azurin
1 essentia from any Incarnum feat
2 essenta from Bonus Essentia
Illegal build is illegal. It also gets into opportunity cost, 1 feat vs 4 feats or 3 feats and a race.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 08, 2011, 11:08:24 PM
Bonus Essentia can't be taken more than once. Would be nice if it could.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: bearsarebrown on March 08, 2011, 11:16:25 PM
His point still stands that "Soulborn works if you take Shape Soulmeld" is saying more about Shape Soulmeld then the Soulborn.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 08, 2011, 11:17:52 PM
His point still stands that "Soulborn works if you take Shape Soulmeld" is saying more about Shape Soulmeld then the Soulborn.
But we already know that Shape Soulmeld is an awesome feat, so many of the Incarnate melds are really good even without a bind.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 08, 2011, 11:18:29 PM
That's debateable.  After all, the soulmeld is simply "Incarnate Avatar."  The alignment restrictions on soulmelds are that you can't shape any that are not of your alignment.  As such, the LE Soulborn can use the Lawful or the Evil version with the same feat.

Hmm, rereading the class feature it looks like it IS debatable. While both the Incarnate and the Soulborn have a class feature called "Aligned Soulmelds," they do appear to work differently. I made the mistake of thinking they worked the same way.

So a Lawful Evil Soulborn CAN potentially play catch up to a barbarian.

Thank you for catching that, and my apologies for Ians for my own wrong-ness.

The thing is, that's still not a Soulborn-specific ability. Anyone can do that.
Actually, only people with essentia pools of 4 or more can do that

...which anyone can do.

Shape Soulmeld
Bonus Essentia x2

In that order.

or

Lawful Evil Azurin Commoner 3
Feats:
1. Shape Soulmeld [Incarnate Avatar]
Az. [Incarnum Feat]
3. Bonus Essentia

1 essentia from Azurin
1 essentia from any Incarnum feat
2 essenta from Bonus Essentia
Illegal build is illegal. It also gets into opportunity cost, 1 feat vs 4 feats or 3 feats and a race.

What?

I'm not playing a forum game, I'm making a point. Magic of Incarnum includes feats that allow non-MoI classes to gain meldshaping ability.

If you can get up to four capacity (which is a matter of time) and you spend the feats ANYONE but an Incarnate can get +4/+8 attack/damage out of Incarnate Avatar.

For the record, if you want to "duel builds" or whatever, your original suggestion was nothing but a feat. The soulborn class brings nothing to it at all. So you used the same tools to make a point that I did, only you failed to make yours.

The soulborn class gets Essentia at the same level that you can take the Bonus Essentia feat. The soulborn class never gains an increase to soulmeld capacity, so it has to spend a feat for that too. You cannot invest 4 essentia in Incarnate Avatar until a certain level without the Expanded Soulmeld Capacity feat or the class features of a Totemist or Incarnate. So, the Soulborn has more essentia than a commoner, but a commoner and a soulborn who invest the same amount into meldshaping will be just as good with Incarnate Avatar.

Bonus Essentia can't be taken more than once. Would be nice if it could.

I'll amend my post.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on March 08, 2011, 11:18:36 PM
His point still stands that "Soulborn works if you take Shape Soulmeld" is saying more about Shape Soulmeld then the Soulborn.
Well, it says something about Soulborn in that it implies Soulborn doesn't work without the feat (which is pretty much true).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 08, 2011, 11:21:25 PM
His point still stands that "Soulborn works if you take Shape Soulmeld" is saying more about Shape Soulmeld then the Soulborn.
But we already know that Shape Soulmeld is an awesome feat, so many of the Incarnate melds are really good even without a bind.

That was my point. It's the feat, not the Soulborn. Also that a commoner could use the feat just as well as a Soulborn.

Saying a class with all knowledge skills gets great bonuses from knowledge devotion is a compliment to knowledge devotion, not the class.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 08, 2011, 11:24:00 PM
His point still stands that "Soulborn works if you take Shape Soulmeld" is saying more about Shape Soulmeld then the Soulborn.
Well, it says something about Soulborn in that it implies Soulborn doesn't work without the feat (which is pretty much true).
It's again the BAB thing. ALL the incarnum classes would have been completely fine with full BAB. But the soulborn got it, and completely got the shaft in every other way.

So, IMHO it doesn't even exist for me.

(Hehe, Azurin Common with Shape soulmeld(Dissolving spittle) is a killing machine at level 1 :).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 08, 2011, 11:38:24 PM
BAB was definitely a factor in the amount of shafting, but really the people who made MoI just lacked balls entirely. The evidence of their cowardice is stamped all over the book. I really like MoI, but I also think blasting is cool, and in neither case does my fondness of the thing mean that the best minds were responsible for its implementation.

It's worth mentioning again that a creature with NO class levels has a higher meldshaper level than a Soulborn assuming it has more hit dice than half the Soulborn's level. I'm pretty sure could have done the commoner example with an advanced dire rat.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: oslecamo on March 08, 2011, 11:48:11 PM
BAB was definitely a factor in the amount of shafting, but really the people who made MoI just lacked balls entirely. The evidence of their cowardice is stamped all over the book. I really like MoI, but I also think blasting is cool, and in neither case does my fondness of the thing mean that the best minds were responsible for its implementation.

I try to look at it on a positive light.

Aka it makes a wonderfull tool for DMs to pimp their monsters, specially those with lots of HD.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 09, 2011, 12:28:12 AM
I don't have a problem with HD = meldshaper level, however I DO have a problem with Soulborn levels*.5 = meldshaper level. It's a completely unnecessary shackle on an already crippled class.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 09, 2011, 07:48:06 PM
His point still stands that "Soulborn works if you take Shape Soulmeld" is saying more about Shape Soulmeld then the Soulborn.
But we already know that Shape Soulmeld is an awesome feat, so many of the Incarnate melds are really good even without a bind.

That was my point. It's the feat, not the Soulborn. Also that a commoner could use the feat just as well as a Soulborn.

Saying a class with all knowledge skills gets great bonuses from knowledge devotion is a compliment to knowledge devotion, not the class.
Except that a commoner doesn't use it as well, without serious opportunity cost. The commoner needs 2 level feats vs the soulborns  1 level feat and its bonus feat. At level 6 its 3 level feats for the commoner and 1 level feat, 1 bonus feat, and 1 pt of essentia from the class for the soulborn. The advantage is squarely with the soulborn. The feat doesn't even do anything by itself. 
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 09, 2011, 08:05:16 PM
Yes, the commoner also has half BAB and shit saves. Do you have any point at all? I wasn't trying to say commoner > soulborn, I was pointing out that a commoner can get as much mileage out of Shape Soulmeld (Incarnate Avatar) as a Soulborn. Yes I accept that the Soulborn > Commoner, you have yet to make any point about anything.

Here's how it works: The feats don't matter. It doesn't matter if the Soulborn has 500 feats and the Commoner only get as many as normal, because neither the Soulborn nor the Commoner can invest 4 essentia into Incarnate Avatar until level 12. It's on page 19 of MoI under "Essentia Capacity." They BOTH need the Expanded Soulmeld Capacity feat and they BOTH need Shape Soulmeld (Incarnate Avatar) to be able to invest 4 essentia in Incarnate Avatar at level 12. The Soulborn has the sole advantage of acquiring a puddle of essentia due to his class, but that only means he needs one less Incarnum feat. This advantage is completely irrelevant because the commoner CAN have that extra Incarnum feat she needs by level 12, so it doesn't matter that she has fewer feats than the Soulborn, because her only goal in life is to show up the Soulborn, which she does.

So once again: What's your point? Shape Soulmeld is cool? Already knew that. Soulborns can slightly outpace a commoner in a feat race? Congratulations you won a pewter metal in the special Olympics. You're still a fucking 12th level Soulborn and get to sit in it while the commoner doesn't give a shit because no one confuses a commoner with a real character class. You apparently confused the Soulborn for one.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 09, 2011, 10:35:05 PM
Yes, the commoner also has half BAB and shit saves. Do you have any point at all? I wasn't trying to say commoner > soulborn, I was pointing out that a commoner can get as much mileage out of Shape Soulmeld (Incarnate Avatar) as a Soulborn. Yes I accept that the Soulborn > Commoner, you have yet to make any point about anything.
So what if he gets as much milage out of it? It took him 4 times the resources to do it.

Edit- What if I said better use out of it? Would that work for you?


Quote
So once again: What's your point? Shape Soulmeld is cool? Already knew that. Soulborns can slightly outpace a commoner in a feat race? Congratulations you won a pewter metal in the special Olympics. You're still a fucking 12th level Soulborn and get to sit in it while the commoner doesn't give a shit because no one confuses a commoner with a real character class. You apparently confused the Soulborn for one.
Shocktrooper, Doves, or Fey/Fiendish heritage line is  more than just slightly outpacing. Soulborn is getting better opportunity cost out of it.


Quote
The soulborn class brings nothing to it at all.
Except for essentia.

Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 09, 2011, 11:08:24 PM
So what if he gets as much milage out of it? It took him 4 times the resources to do it.

No it just took an extra feat. That's hardly 4 times the resources.

Shape Soulmeld (Soulborn also takes)

Expanded Soulmeld Capacity (Soulborn also takes)

Bonus Essentia (Soulborn also takes. The Soulborn has 4 essentia without this feat at level 12, but will still take this feat because he/she pretty much has to. It's like taking Power Attack. The commoner has to take this feat to have the necessary essentia, but does not have to worry about building a viable character.)

Incarnum feat (Behold, four times the resources  :rollseyes)

The race choice isn't an expenditure of resources, it's an investment in a good character. Azurin would be good for either of them, as would other races with bonus essentia.

Also, just so we're clear, the Incarnum feats don't all universally suck. It's very likely that the Soulborn will have one too. The Soulborn and the Commoner could very likely take the exact same four feats because the same four feats work well for both of them. The only difference is that the Soulborn will have the essentia necessary without those feats, which as I've said doesn't matter because the commoner is here to prove a point and the Soulborn has to play the game. Furthermore, just because the Soulborn doesn't need those feats to gain the necessary essentia to fill Incarnate Avatar, it doesn't mean the Soulborn doesn't need those feats anyway for other reason. You do not need Power Attack to hit things, you just need it to make it matter when you hit them. Similarly the Soulborn doesn't need those feats to keep up with a commoner, he just needs them to keep up with everybody else, which he still fails to do.

By level 12 an Azurin commoner will have 6 feats and can fucking buy Toughness with the last two for all I care.

Except for essentia.

Which again, doesn't matter that much. As I explained in my last post, your total essentia doesn't matter after 4 for the purposes of this discussion. You cannot put more than 4 essentia into the soulmeld at level 12 without levels in a proper meldshaping class (Soulborn does not qualify), so you could have 6,347 essentia and 565 feats and it wouldn't matter because the commoner only needs 4 feats and 4 essentia and neither the Soulborn nor the Commoner can invest more than 4 essentia. The Soulborn needs fewer feats and gets more as well, but has to use them to attempt to matter, while the commoner would never be mistaken for a serious character.

Also as I said in my last post, I'm not trying to show that a commoner is a better class than a Soulborn, I'm just pointing out that your original statement that the Soulborn can get a lot of mileage out of the Shape Soulmeld feat is just as true for a fucking commoner as it is for a Soulborn, meaning that the Shape Soulmeld feat is cool and the Soulborn still sucks. Who cares about the amount of investment? My original jist remains true: The Soulborn can't do much that EVERYONE else can't do.

On a faintly related note, I'm not sure I said this already, but I think it's indicative of the spineless nature of the MoI authors that everything with a constitution score can get more out of Incarnate Avatar than the fucking Incarnate!
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 09, 2011, 11:22:49 PM
So what if he gets as much milage out of it? It took him 4 times the resources to do it.

No it just took an extra feat. That's hardly 4 times the resources.

Shape Soulmeld (Soulborn also takes)

Expanded Soulmeld Capacity (Soulborn also takes)

Bonus Essentia (Soulborn also takes. The Soulborn has 4 essentia without this feat at level 12, but will still take this feat because he/she pretty much has to. It's like taking Power Attack. The commoner has to take this feat to have the necessary essentia, but does not have to worry about building a viable character.)

Incarnum feat (Behold, four times the resources  :rollseyes)
Thats only true if the +4/+8 is at 12, if its at 18, and the Soulborn doesn't take Bonus Essentia because it is in no way a required feat for him then it does in fact take 4 time the resources.



Quote
Also, just so we're clear, the Incarnum feats don't all universally suck. It's very likely that the Soulborn will have one too.

The soulborn is definately going to pick up an Incarnum feat at 3rd level. Also 7th and 11th.





Quote
Which again, doesn't matter that much. As I explained in my last post, your total essentia doesn't matter after 4 for the purposes of this discussion. You cannot put more than 4 essentia into the soulmeld at level 12 without levels in a proper meldshaping class (Soulborn does not qualify), so you could have 6,347 essentia and 565 feats and it wouldn't matter because the commoner only needs 4 feats and 4 essentia and neither the Soulborn nor the Commoner can invest more than 4 essentia.

It matters because the nonmeldshaping classes have to put extra resources into getting that 4 essentia.

Quote
Also as I said in my last post, I'm not trying to show that a commoner is a better class than a Soulborn, I'm just pointing out that your original statement that the Soulborn can get a lot of mileage out of the Shape Soulmeld feat is just as true for a fucking commoner as it is for a Soulborn, meaning that the Shape Soulmeld feat is cool and the Soulborn still sucks. Who cares about the amount of investment? My original jist remains true: The Soulborn can't do much that EVERYONE else can't do.

The soulborn will be getting more milage because he doens't have to put more feats into getting the essentia for the +4/+8. The Soulborn needs 1. So for every feat the commoner takes to get the essentia the soulborn can take another feat to get a bonus to hit or damage or another ability. If the Soulborn and Commoner both put exactly 1 feat into using the shape soulmeld the soulborn will have +4/+8 to hit and the commoner will have fucking zip from the feat.


Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 09, 2011, 11:35:55 PM
Both of you please drop it. The Soulborn is a mistake (there's a lot of those kind of mistakes). Don't compare a mistake to something that was intentional (the Commoner).
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 09, 2011, 11:48:30 PM
Both of you please drop it. The Soulborn is a mistake (there's a lot of those kind of mistakes). Don't compare a mistake to something that was intentional (the Commoner).

Happily.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Agita on March 10, 2011, 12:23:02 AM
So what stops a LE Totemist from picking up that +4/+8 instead, aside from competition for the Soul slot (and in any case, +1/+2 per essentia is extremely solid, especially on a Totemist)? :p Pretty sure those have no alignment restrictions either.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sinfire Titan on March 10, 2011, 01:35:46 AM
So what stops a LE Totemist from picking up that +4/+8 instead, aside from competition for the Soul slot (and in any case, +1/+2 per essentia is extremely solid, especially on a Totemist)? :p Pretty sure those have no alignment restrictions either.

Absolutely nothing. As you sid, they have no alignment restrictions, which makes it even better because they can grab the Avatar that opposes their alignment too.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 10, 2011, 09:13:40 PM
On a faintly related note, I'm not sure I said this already, but I think it's indicative of the spineless nature of the MoI authors that everything with a constitution score can get more out of Incarnate Avatar than the fucking Incarnate!
There is an alignment less adaption in the Incarnate Section. It loses its detect ability and its aura.

Sorry about the Soulborn thing. I didn't make my point very well. I'm going to try to restate it.

A Soulborn can get the second most use out of Shape Soulmeld:Incarnate Avatar, because he doesn't need to put as in other much opportunity costs into making it work. A single feat for +4 to hit and 8 to damage is very good. Non meldshaper classes need to take the feat, and another feat to get +2/4 to hit and damage. Which is meh at best. If the classes cap it out the Soulborn uses 2 feats for +5/10 to  hit and damage which is still not bad. A non meldshaper would need 6 feats for the same bonus, not counting race.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 11, 2011, 03:15:35 PM
Seriously, lans, you've proven that the Soulborn is better than a commoner. Umm... yes we knew that beforehand.  We STILL know that it's a piece of crap.

As to the effect of the Incarnate Avatar (and Incarnate weapon): The effects depend on the meldshaper's alignment, so you could not shape the opposingly aligned effect. A true Neutral meldshaper would get no benefit whatsoever. Also, a dually aligned meldshaper with the feat would look like a freak, because both avatars would be superimposed around his body. Well... so the fluff implies this shouldn't happen, but the RAW contradicts it.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 11, 2011, 06:06:47 PM
Seriously, lans, you've proven that the Soulborn is better than a commoner. Umm... yes we knew that beforehand.  We STILL know that it's a piece of crap.
I was comparing the effects with a feat to every nonmeldshaping class.

Quote
As to the effect of the Incarnate Avatar (and Incarnate weapon): The effects depend on the meldshaper's alignment, so you could not shape the opposingly aligned effect. A true Neutral meldshaper would get no benefit whatsoever. Also, a dually aligned meldshaper with the feat would look like a freak, because both avatars would be superimposed around his body. Well... so the fluff implies this shouldn't happen, but the RAW contradicts it.
Yes, I assumed people knew how the system worked and could figure out that I was refering to a LE Soulborn.
I should have been more clear on that, as not everybody is familiar with the system.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: BeholderSlayer on March 11, 2011, 06:08:23 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 11, 2011, 06:13:06 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.
A wizard is like a commoner, but with full casting and some bonus feats.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 11, 2011, 06:21:59 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.
A wizard is like a commoner, but with full casting and some bonus feats.
and a good will save, better class skill list, and more weapon proficiencies.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on March 11, 2011, 10:43:01 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.
A wizard is like a commoner, but with full casting and some bonus feats.
and a good will save, better class skill list, and more weapon proficiencies.
And a pet parrot/slug/polywog/whatever. Oh, and he reads for a living.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 11, 2011, 10:46:47 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.
A wizard is like a commoner, but with full casting and some bonus feats.
and a good will save, better class skill list, and more weapon proficiencies.
And a pet parrot/slug/polywog/whatever. Oh, and he reads for a living.
Thats really just a bonus feat.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Jopustopin on March 11, 2011, 10:48:14 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.

Wow the wizard blows.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: AleksanderTheGreat on March 11, 2011, 10:49:48 PM
At least the wizard has a big, hard book to smack his opponents with. :P
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 11:53:18 PM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.

Wow the wizard blows.

Oh yeah they do (http://www.kenzerco.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21287)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bozwevial on March 12, 2011, 06:46:43 AM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.

Wow the wizard blows.

Oh yeah they do (http://www.kenzerco.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21287)
That's more sucking than blowing, really.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Lycanthromancer on March 13, 2011, 06:05:11 AM
You know a class blows when you're comparing it to a commoner.

Wow the wizard blows.

Oh yeah they do (http://www.kenzerco.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21287)
That's more sucking than blowing, really.
...Is it getting hot in here, or is just me?

Hot under the collar, that is. I had to stop reading that thread after page 2 and come back here where things make SENSE.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 15, 2011, 06:03:34 PM
Back to Soulborn- Does the fact that it has an in class ability to gain flight, via Astral Vambraces, make it better than other weaksauce classes which don't?
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: InnaBinder on March 15, 2011, 06:23:50 PM
Back to Soulborn- Does the fact that it has an in class ability to gain flight, via Astral Vambraces, make it better than other weaksauce classes which don't?
30 Raptorans say no...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 15, 2011, 06:32:28 PM
It's also at level 14 that the Soulborn gains a flight speed of 20 with average maneuverability. More than a little underwhelming.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: lans on March 15, 2011, 06:51:43 PM
 :banghead

I forgot how late they got their binds.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 15, 2011, 07:39:38 PM
Pushing EVERYTHING meldshaping-related down several levels would go a long way to fixing the Soulborn, but like all 3.5 mistakes, there is no one to make official fixes anymore. The final supplements gave us shit like kobolds pretending to be dragons - a major caster buff - instead of even a remote effort to fix their mistakes (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/fighter.htm). Also, as much as I like MoI, as I said it seems like the better creators were working on other projects, and that most of the coolest stuff about MoI was more of an accident.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Brainpiercing on March 15, 2011, 11:56:37 PM
Also, as much as I like MoI, as I said it seems like the better creators were working on other projects, and that most of the coolest stuff about MoI was more of an accident.
[/quote

Well... is there a quick fix for the soulborn?

I think a quick fix for both Totemist and Incarnate is to give them full BAB. That pushes them a bit. And then you basically can the soulborn - it's totally redundant.

The other fixes that are necessary are for the crappy avatars. They suck compared to so many other binds, when they should not only look cool, but actually rock.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Bloody Initiate on March 16, 2011, 12:21:56 AM
Also, as much as I like MoI, as I said it seems like the better creators were working on other projects, and that most of the coolest stuff about MoI was more of an accident.

Well... is there a quick fix for the soulborn?

I think a quick fix for both Totemist and Incarnate is to give them full BAB. That pushes them a bit. And then you basically can the soulborn - it's totally redundant.

The other fixes that are necessary are for the crappy avatars. They suck compared to so many other binds, when they should not only look cool, but actually rock.

I'm not great at plotting appropriate power levels, I tend to balance UP and let more experienced players tell me when I've gone too far or not far enough.

Full BAB would be fine.

Sinfire Titan said in his handbook that giving Totemists Magical Beast HD would be a nice and easy patch, and it does look pretty good. That's probably the easiest one to houserule.

More BAB would also be nice for the Incarnate, but I'd also want more class skills and skills per level, as well as doing away with the aligned soulmelds restriction and general focus on alignment (D&D's focus on alignment is lame imo, most parties are required to ignore a lot of alignment stuff just to function). Basically the Incarnate needs a bigger band-aid than the Totemist.

The Soulborn is redundant, as you said, but its focus is clearly supposed to be combat. A fix that made it more unique would be nice. Hell just a few more unique class features would be a giant bonus. Letting it switch its essentia around as a free action would spare it the swift action every round, and maybe some kind of kicker on its smites. Really though, no one smart is going to play the Soulborn without a fix anyway, so until someone gets serious about a fix no one is going to get serious about playing it, and most groups can scrap it as you say.

As for the Avatars, my first use of MoI taught me not to sneeze at small bonuses which you can build up and accumulate into something formidable. That's how meldshapers get their groove on, by cherry picking small bonuses from multiple soulmelds to achieve a tailored attack routine. They COULD be better for sure, but they're not garbage now.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sir Giacomo on March 20, 2011, 06:26:58 PM
FAQ:

(...)

For example, here's how the various Tiers might deal with a specific set of situations, cut to spoilers due to size:

[spoiler]Situation 1: A Black Dragon has been plaguing an area, and he lives in a trap filled cave. Deal with him.

Situation 2: You have been tasked by a nearby country with making contact with the leader of the underground slave resistance of an evil tyranical city state, and get him to trust you.

Situation 3: A huge army of Orcs is approaching the city, and should be here in a week or so. Help the city prepare for war.

Okay, so, here we go.

Tier 6: A Commoner. Situation 1: If he's REALLY optimized, he could be a threat to the dragon, but a single attack from the dragon could take him out too. He can't really offer help getting to said dragon. He could fill up the entire cave with chickens, but that's probably not a good idea. Really, he's dead weight unless his build was perfectly optimized for this situation (see my Commoner charger build for an example). Situation 2: Well, without any stealth abilities or diplomacy, he's not too handy here, again unless he's been exactly optimized for this precise thing (such as through Martial Study to get Diplomacy). Really, again his class isn't going to help much here. Situation 3: Again, no help from his class, though the chicken thing might be amusing if you're creative.

Tier 5: A Fighter. Situation 1: If he's optimized for this sort of thing (a tripper might have trouble, though a charger would be handy if he could get off a clear shot, and an archer would likely work) he can be a threat during the main fight, but he's probably just about useless for sneaking down through the cave and avoiding any traps the dragon has set out without alerting said dragon. Most likely the party Rogue would want to hide him in a bag of holding or something. Once in the fight if he's optimized he'll be solid, but if not (if he's a traditional SAB build or a dual weilding monkey grip type) he's going to be a liability in the combat (though not as bad as the Commoner). Situation 2: As the commoner before, his class really won't help here. His class just doesn't provide any useful tools for the job. It's possible (but very unlikely) that he's optimized in a way that helps in this situation, just as with the Commoner. Situation 3: Again, his class doesn't help much, but at least he could be pretty useful during the main battle as a front line trooper of some sort. Hack up the enemy and rack up a body count.

Tier 4: The Rogue. Situation 1: Well he can certainly help get the party to the dragon, even if he's not totally optimized for it. His stealth and detection abilities will come in handy here, and if he puts the less stealthy people in portable holes and the like he's good to go. During the combat he's likely not that helpful (it's hard to sneak attack a dragon) but if he had a lot of prep time he might have been able to snag a scroll or wand of Shivering Touch, in which case he could be extremely helpful... he just has to be really prepared and on the ball, and the resources have to be available in advance. He's quite squishy though, and that dragon is a serious threat. Situation 2: With his stealth and diplomacy, he's all over this. Maybe not 100% perfect, but still pretty darn solid. An individual build might not have all the necessary skills, but most should be able to make do. Situation 3: Perhaps he can use Gather Information and such to gain strategic advantages before the battle... that would be handy. There's a few he's pretty likely to be able to pull off. He might even be able to use Diplomacy to buff the army a bit and at least get them into a good morale situation pre battle. Or, if he's a different set up, he could perhaps go out and assassinate a few of the orc commanders before the fight, which could be handy. And then during the fight he could do the same. It's not incredible, but it's something.

Tier 3: The Beguiler. Situation 1: Again, getting through the cave is easy, perhaps easier with spell support. And again, if he's really prepared in advance, Shivering Touch via UMD is a possibility. But he's also got spells that could be quite useful here depending on the situation, and if he's optimized heavily, this is going to be pretty easy... Shadowcraft Mage, perhaps? Or Earth Dreamer? Either way, he's got a lot of available options, though like the Rogue he's somewhat squishy (and that Dragon won't fall for many illusions with his Blindsense) so he still needs that party support. Situation 2: Again, with his skills he's all over this one, plus the added ability to cast spells like charm makes this one much easier, allowing him to make contacts in the city quickly while he figures out where this guy is. Situation 3: Like the Rogue, he can get strategic advantages and be all over the Diplomacy. He's not quite as good at assassinating people if he takes that route (though sneaking up invisible and then using a coup de gras with a scythe is pretty darn effective), but using illusions during the fight will create some serious chaos in his favor. A single illusion of a wall of fire can really disrupt enemy formations, for example.

Tier 2: The Sorcerer. Situation 1: It really depends on the Sorcerer's spell load out. If he's got Greater Floating Disk, Spectral Hand, and Shivering Touch, this one's going to be easy as pie, since he can just float down (and carry his party in the process) to avoid many traps, then nail the dragon in one shot from a distance. If he doesn't he'd need scrolls with the same issues that the UMD Rogue and Beguiler would need. If he's got Explosive Runes he could create a bomb that would take out the Dragon in one shot. If he's got Polymorph he could turn the party melee into a Hydra for extra damage. If he's got Alter Self he could turn himself into a Skulk to get down there sneakily. Certainly, it's possible that the Sorcerer could own this scenario... if he has the right spells known. That's always the hard part for a Sorcerer. Situation 2: Again, depends on the spell. Does he have divinations that will help him know who's part of the resistance and who's actually an evil spy for the Tyranical Govenerment? Does he have charm? Alter Self would help a ton here too for disguise purposes if he has it. Once again, the options exist that could totally make this easy, but he might not have those options. Runestaffs would help a bit, but not that much. Scrolls would help too, but that requires access to them and good long term preparation. Situation 3: Again, does he have Wall of Iron or Wall of Stone to make fortifications? Does he have Wall of Fire to disrupt the battlefield? How about Mind Rape and Love's Pain to kill off the enemy commanders without any ability to stop him? Does he have Blinding Glory on his spell list, or Shapechange, or Gate? Well, maybe. He's got the power, but if his spells known don't apply here he can't do much. So, maybe he dominates this one, maybe not.

Tier 1: The Wizard. Situation 1: Memorize Greater Floating Disk, Shivering Touch, and Spectral Hand. Maybe Alter Self too for stealth reasons. Kill dragon. Memorize Animate Dead too, because Dragons make great minions (seriously, there's special rules for using that spell on dragons). Sweet, you have a new horsie! Or, you know, maybe you Mind Rape/Love's Pain and kill the dragon before he even knows you exist, then float down and check it out. Or maybe you create a horde of the dead and send them in, triggering the traps with their bodies. Or do the haunt shift trick and waltz in with a hardness of around 80 and giggle. Perhaps you cast Genesis to create a flowing time plane and then sit and think about what to do for a year while only a day passes on the outside... and cast Explosive Runes every day during that year. I'm sure you can come up with something. It's really your call. Situation 2: Check your spell list. Alter Self and Disguise Self can make you look like whoever you need to look like. Locate Creature has obvious utility. Heck, Contact Other Plane could be a total cheating method of finding the guy you're trying to find. Clairvoyance is also handy. It's all there. Situation 3: Oh no, enemy army! Well, if you've optimized for it, there's always the locate city bomb (just be careful not to blow up the friendly guys too). But if not, Love's Pain could assassinate the leaders. Wall of Iron/Stone could create fortifications, or be combined with Fabricate to armour up some of the troops. Or you could just cast Blinding Glory and now the entire enemy army is blind with no save for caster level hours. Maybe you could Planar Bind an appropriate outsider to help train the troops before the battle. Push comes to shove, Gate in a Solar, who can cast Miracle (which actually does have a "I win the battle" option)... or just Shapechange into one, if you prefer.[/spoiler]

Hi, a question (may have been answered before, but just in case): What is the level assumed for the three situations?
It looks like level 6 pcs at least (since the black dragon threatening the area probably is at least large size and thus probably at least young adult/CR 9). And is the level assumed the same for each of the three situations (use of e.g. shapeshange by wizards assumes level 17 in some situations)?
Thanks!

- Giacomo
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Benly on March 20, 2011, 07:13:25 PM
Hi, a question (may have been answered before, but just in case): What is the level assumed for the three situations?
It looks like level 6 pcs at least (since the black dragon threatening the area probably is at least large size and thus probably at least young adult/CR 9). And is the level assumed the same for each of the three situations (use of e.g. shapeshange by wizards assumes level 17 in some situations)?
Thanks!

- Giacomo


This particular example seems to be mid-high level at least, but you can work up examples for all level ranges. At very low levels the tiers stand apart less drastically (tier 1-2 classes haven't had time to grow their huge toolbox and melee classes are relatively better in a fight) and some classes change tiers when you're talking about specific level ranges (healers suddenly sprouting Gate at 17, for example) but the general idea tends to hold.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sir Giacomo on March 20, 2011, 08:57:40 PM
This particular example seems to be mid-high level at least, but you can work up examples for all level ranges. At very low levels the tiers stand apart less drastically (tier 1-2 classes haven't had time to grow their huge toolbox and melee classes are relatively better in a fight) and some classes change tiers when you're talking about specific level ranges (healers suddenly sprouting Gate at 17, for example) but the general idea tends to hold.

Hmmm...the wizard mentioned uses shapechange, so the level considered appears to be at least level 17. Making the black dragon sort of wyrm status to provide a strong challenge for a party (CR 20). But contacting a leader of a resistance and/or an army of orcs appears to be a lower level scenario. Maybe JaronK can explain?

- Giacomo
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on March 20, 2011, 09:06:36 PM
You are deliberately picking a high level case, the post actually goes through a number of fights starting from earlier levels. The Shapechange tactics is just insult to injury more than a necessity.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on March 20, 2011, 09:21:05 PM
You are deliberately picking a high level case, the post actually goes through a number of fights starting from earlier levels. The Shapechange tactics is just insult to injury more than a necessity.

To be fair Tshern, the examples are completely arbitrary, and don't reflect any attempt at fairness or demonstration, and are instead merely a rhetorical device to bias people in favor of JaronKs preferences.

Showing that a level 5 Fighter can't do much, and that a level 17 Wizard can do all sorts of stuff is not indicative of anything. It's true that level 17 Fighters also can't do much, and that level 5 Wizards can still do all sorts of stuff, but the examples given are not indicative, and because they are merely rhetorical tools, just choose to declare how things work out, without respect to the power of different options.

It's just like how the description of what the Tiers are is so incredibly vague and yet declarative, that we know Tier 1 classes can "do absolutely anything" (except the things they can't do) and is "Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player" (except of course, every time they can't, which is most of the time). ect.

I mean, the entire post is an exercise in rhetorical methods of convincing, with practically speaking absolutely no content.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 20, 2011, 09:24:15 PM
I would have to disagree.  What a Fighter is capable of doesn't change through the levels at all, so what little is said there is pretty universal.  Only when we got into tier 2 and up did multiple possibilities (useable at most levels) arise.  Tiers 4 and below are pretty linear in ability.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on March 20, 2011, 09:38:49 PM
I would have to disagree.  What a Fighter is capable of doesn't change through the levels at all, so what little is said there is pretty universal.  Only when we got into tier 2 and up did multiple possibilities (useable at most levels) arise.  Tiers 4 and below are pretty linear in ability.

Are you capable of reading? I ask, because as far as I can see, no one actually said anything about the rate at which people become capable through levels. So your statement is apparently disagreeing with an invisible poster that no one but you can see.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on March 20, 2011, 10:08:40 PM
Kaelik: I would have to agree with what you posted earlier. The post doesn't show any examples using actual numbers or anything, but far as I know this thread is more about compiling things most people already agree about on some level, so little persuasion is needed. Then again, while I think ranking classes according to tiers makes it easier to refer to different power levels, I don't really care about the discussion that goes on in this thread...
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 20, 2011, 10:13:48 PM
I would have to disagree.  What a Fighter is capable of doesn't change through the levels at all, so what little is said there is pretty universal.  Only when we got into tier 2 and up did multiple possibilities (useable at most levels) arise.  Tiers 4 and below are pretty linear in ability.

Are you capable of reading? I ask, because as far as I can see, no one actually said anything about the rate at which people become capable through levels. So your statement is apparently disagreeing with an invisible poster that no one but you can see.
You were implying that everything Jaron stated in those summaries was only his opinion.  Those situations are pretty average for expecting players to contend with and claiming otherwise shows ignorance.  Note that the Wizard also had many options listed for as low as level 3 for each situation, so Jaron was in no way comparing level 17 wizards to level 5 fighters, nor was he comparing playstyles.  All he is comparing is what the individual classes are actually capable of, not necessarily what people will do with them.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on March 20, 2011, 10:48:12 PM
Hi, a question (may have been answered before, but just in case): What is the level assumed for the three situations?
It looks like level 6 pcs at least (since the black dragon threatening the area probably is at least large size and thus probably at least young adult/CR 9). And is the level assumed the same for each of the three situations (use of e.g. shapeshange by wizards assumes level 17 in some situations)?
Thanks!

- Giacomo

The Shapechange thing was just to show that it happens through all levels.  Note the first tactic mentioned for the dragon scenario with a Wizard was perfectly doable at level 7 (Greater Floating Disk was the highest level spell used, and is a level 4 spell).  I figured level 7 is a good level for a dragon fighting scenario.  The second scenario shows tactics available at every level from 1 (Disguise Self) on up, as that scenario is more appropriate to lower level groups.  Fighting an army with just a few PCs seems like a higher level scenario, so I listed tactics starting at level 9 or so (creating fortifications and the like).  In general I tried to show things the classes could do from the lowest level I'd expect to see the scenario on up to the high levels.  You don't see that as much for classes like the Fighter, whose tactics in general don't actually change much from level 6 to level 20 (part of the problem, really).

But those are just general scenarios.  If you'll read more of the FAQ, you'll note that I prioritize levels 6-15, since at the lowest levels (1-5) the differences aren't as obvious anyway and the highest levels (16+) aren't played as often by the vast majority of groups (according to what surveys I've seen).

And yes, the post summarizes how the game is played... I can't go through absolutely every last detail of every class with statistics to show it.  Frankly, it's pretty obvious to most folks who've played for any significant amount of time that a Wizard is noticeably above a Binder, who is noticeably above a Fighter... this fills in the classes a specific person may not yet be familiar with.  If you want though, you can always check through all the various "why each class is in its tier" threads, which do go over each class in far more detail. 

JaronK
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Sir Giacomo on March 20, 2011, 11:06:06 PM
The Shapechange thing was just to show that it happens through all levels.  Note the first tactic mentioned for the dragon scenario with a Wizard was perfectly doable at level 7 (Greater Floating Disk was the highest level spell used, and is a level 4 spell).  I figured level 7 is a good level for a dragon fighting scenario.  The second scenario shows tactics available at every level from 1 (Disguise Self) on up, as that scenario is more appropriate to lower level groups.  Fighting an army with just a few PCs seems like a higher level scenario, so I listed tactics starting at level 9 or so (creating fortifications and the like).  In general I tried to show things the classes could do from the lowest level I'd expect to see the scenario on up to the high levels.  You don't see that as much for classes like the Fighter, whose tactics in general don't actually change much from level 6 to level 20 (part of the problem, really).

But those are just general scenarios.  If you'll read more of the FAQ, you'll note that I prioritize levels 6-15, since at the lowest levels (1-5) the differences aren't as obvious anyway and the highest levels (16+) aren't played as often by the vast majority of groups (according to what surveys I've seen).

And yes, the post summarizes how the game is played... I can't go through absolutely every last detail of every class with statistics to show it.  Frankly, it's pretty obvious to most folks who've played for any significant amount of time that a Wizard is noticeably above a Binder, who is noticeably above a Fighter... this fills in the classes a specific person may not yet be familiar with.  If you want though, you can always check through all the various "why each class is in its tier" threads, which do go over each class in far more detail. 

JaronK

Thanks a lot for the explanations.
Maybe it would be interesting to compare the capabilities in the level 6-15 range along the broad scenarios you suggested with a black dragon of 2-3 CR above the character levels: say for 6th level characters (vs a young adult black dragon in the first situation), 9th level (adult black) 12th level (mature adult) and 15th level (very old). For instance, it would be interesting to see how Tier 1s perfom at level 6 compared to, say, Tier 4 or 5. In case there are other scenarios somewhere I’d be interested to know.

Another question: I guess the tiers only compare the pure class abilities, not the class abilities combined with standard equipment (as per wbl). Am I correct?

- Giacomo
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on March 20, 2011, 11:07:24 PM
You were implying that everything Jaron stated in those summaries was only his opinion.  Those situations are pretty average for expecting players to contend with and claiming otherwise shows ignorance.  Note that the Wizard also had many options listed for as low as level 3 for each situation, so Jaron was in no way comparing level 17 wizards to level 5 fighters, nor was he comparing playstyles.  All he is comparing is what the individual classes are actually capable of, not necessarily what people will do with them.

No, I was explicitly stating (not implying), that everything JaronK said was largely content void, and that even the classifications of the tiers themselves are (purposefully? Accidentally through selection?) vague and devoid of any actual content that would allow anyone to actually claim that classes are or are not part of a tier.

It doesn't matter if the situations are common or not, because the situations are vague, and the PCs responses are also vague, with no analysis of likely success, or usefulness.

It is instead, an attempt to persuade, and not an attempt to inform, as it avoids informing wherever possible.

Kaelik: I would have to agree with what you posted earlier. The post doesn't show any examples using actual numbers or anything, but far as I know this thread is more about compiling things most people already agree about on some level, so little persuasion is needed. Then again, while I think ranking classes according to tiers makes it easier to refer to different power levels, I don't really care about the discussion that goes on in this thread...

Well, yes and no. I have no idea what the original purpose of the Tier system was in JaronKs mind, but in fact, the result has been that the correct placement of Fighters and Wizards or, to borrow your phrase "compiling things most people already agree about" resulted in JaronK's guesses and classifications of things he didn't think about, understand, or applied his absurd criteria to, being taken as fact for more obscure or difficult to judge classes, to the point where people, JaronK especially, have decided that the Tier system is the most accurate determination of class balance possible, and led to a bunch of complete confusion about class balance.

So people genuinely think that Dread Necromancers, Factotums, and Swordsages are all just as strong, and all weaker than Favored Souls, when in fact, Favored Souls are a MADly bullshit class with all the deficiencies of a Sorcerer casting from a worse list off two casting stats, where the Dread Necromancer is a full caster with more spells of each level than three Sorcerers together, and free class features, and infinite healing, and an infinite army, and access to Planar Binding. (And Factotums and Swordsages are lacking in offense, subject to all the usual things that negate fighters, but the ability to bypass some very minor obstacles sometimes apparently brings them up to the level of full casting undead army called outsiders beast.)
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 20, 2011, 11:16:53 PM
A Favored Soul's spell list is far larger than a Dread Necro's as is a Sorcerer's.  Most books add to the Favored Soul's and Sorcerer's lists because, for the most part, they are identical to Cleric and Wizard respectively (there are a few spells that are only Sorcerer, some that are only Wizard, and Favored Souls don't get access to domain spells, but that's it for changes).

Keep in mind that a Dread Necro gets Planar Binding...but no way to control anything he binds short of killing and reanimating.  This drastically reduces their power with the spell.  Plus, their limited list makes them incredibly weak in many situations (not much they can do versus constructs, for example) as does the dependance on minions (armies or even big meatbags are tough to bring with you on a typical dungeon crawl.  Never mind that DN's don't get limitless armies, just very large ones, and their disposable minions will run up a rather high gp cost without careful management).  Meanwhile, a Favored Soul, while being DAD for casting, has thier pick of one of the broadest spell lists in the game (which includes Miracle and therefore the ability to replicate any spell of 7th level or lower).  The potential is far, far greater.

The Tiers are not saying that X=Y because thy'er both in Tier Z, it's saying that they are near enough that what challenges X isn't too different from what challenges Y and both will contribute pretty evenly in a party together.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on March 20, 2011, 11:22:12 PM
I would definitely agree about the Dread Necromancer thing, it is a strong class no matter how you look at it. Unless I am totally mistaken, it has been one of the biggest sources of argument in this thread. Perhaps it would be best to see the tier system as a starting place for those, who are just getting into the mechanics of D&D. Most of the classes are rather accurately placed, even if there are some I don't agree about and as such could help newcomers to get some perspective.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on March 20, 2011, 11:23:54 PM
Dread Necromancers can easily get Magic circles to their spell list though. Doesn't take too much to make them excellent users of Diplomacy either.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: snakeman830 on March 20, 2011, 11:27:38 PM
Dread Necromancers can easily get Magic circles to their spell list though. Doesn't take too much to make them excellent users of Diplomacy either.
I will agree to this, but that's not the class doing it, but feats.  By the same useage, a Beguiler can get Miracle on their list, but that doesn't mean Beguilers belong in a higher tier than Crusaders.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Tshern on March 20, 2011, 11:30:21 PM
Dread Necromancers can easily get Magic circles to their spell list though. Doesn't take too much to make them excellent users of Diplomacy either.
I will agree to this, but that's not the class doing it, but feats.  By the same useage, a Beguiler can get Miracle on their list, but that doesn't mean Beguilers belong in a higher tier than Crusaders.
Yet Factotums are always assumed to have access to Font of inspiration. And, actually, I do believe Beguilers are of a higher tier than Crusaders simply because it is entirely feasible for them to get Miracle and other gamebreakers without much difficulty.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on March 20, 2011, 11:30:50 PM
A Favored Soul's spell list is far larger than a Dread Necro's as is a Sorcerer's.  Most books add to the Favored Soul's and Sorcerer's lists because, for the most part, they are identical to Cleric and Wizard respectively (there are a few spells that are only Sorcerer, some that are only Wizard, and Favored Souls don't get access to domain spells, but that's it for changes).

Keep in mind that a Dread Necro gets Planar Binding...but no way to control anything he binds short of killing and reanimating.  This drastically reduces their power.  Meanwhile, a Favored Soul, while being DAD for casting, has thier pick of one of the broadest spell lists in the game.  The potential is far, far greater.

A Favored Souls spell list being huge doesn't matter. If I make a class that has literally every single spell in the game on it's spell list, but gets one spell known of each level, it doesn't matter that it has the biggest spell list in the game. It still only casts off it's spells known.

And the Favored Soul and Sorcerer both have fewer spells known than the Dread Necromancer, so in order to claim it is better, you would have to present some hypothetical list of spells known specifically that is better than the Dread Necromancers entire list and class abilities, and accounts for the MAD of the Favored Soul.

As for Planar Binding, they also can use Charisma checks, just like everyone else, and they can also use Magic Jar, seeing as how they have it as a spell known. So no, they can do more than animate the dead bodies, though yes, they can also do that.

And take a serious look at the Cleric list sometime. They get a lot of good spells that are only good in very specific situations, and those are particularly bad for Favored Souls, with limited spells known. Yeah, you could use a Favored Soul to build a buffbot, but frankly, you are then just a fighter, with limited fights per day, and they don't have the spells known to pull the good Cleric buffing or having so many spells up that all stack.

Yes, Favored Souls are ass, and I'd rather have half the Tier 3 list in my party, and yes, Dread Necromancers are insanely better than them, and better than most of the Tier 3 classes by such an absurd margin that it's silly to have them in that group.

The potential of a Favored Soul is to suck, and something that actually challenges a Dread Necromancer could kill entire parties of Factotums and Swordsages.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: Kaelik on March 20, 2011, 11:31:46 PM
Dread Necromancers can easily get Magic circles to their spell list though. Doesn't take too much to make them excellent users of Diplomacy either.
I will agree to this, but that's not the class doing it, but feats.  By the same useage, a Beguiler can get Miracle on their list, but that doesn't mean Beguilers belong in a higher tier than Crusaders.

No, it's the character doing it. With the feats. That they always get. Just like it can also be done with an Eternal Wand of Magic Circle. Which comes from the Wealth that all characters always get.
Title: Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
Post by: JaronK on March 20, 2011, 11:38:16 PM
Thanks a lot for the explanations.
Maybe it would be interesting to compare the capabilities in the level 6-15 range along the broad scenarios you suggested with a black dragon of 2-3 CR above the character levels: say for 6th level characters (vs a young adult black dragon in the first situation), 9th level (adult black) 12th level (mature adult) and 15th level (very old). For instance, it would be interesting to see how Tier 1s perfom at level 6 compared to, say, Tier 4 or 5. In case there are other scenarios somewhere I’d be interested to know.

Heh, some variant of "Shivering Touch" would probably come up in every one of those scenarios, since it's available by level 5 and instant kills dragons (especially with a lesser rod of maximize).  Plus, Spectral Hand is a level 2 spell that ensures you don't have to get close to use it.  I don't really want to get into every exact combination of class and scenario simply because it takes a long time, but suffice to say the usual problem of "if you think about the scenario, there's some spell that deals with that scenario" comes up.

Quote
Another question: I guess the tiers only compare the pure class abilities, not the class abilities combined with standard equipment (as per wbl). Am I correct?

To an extent, yes.  It's only about classes.  Sometimes a particular piece of gear works better for one class than another (for example, a Lesser Rod of Maximize is only useful to people who have a class that casts spells) and so that might be factored in a bit, but I wanted this to be a general case tool, so I didn't want to make any assumptions about what gear you might have.  After all, some people play with magic marts around every corner, some play by RAW (where most marts don't necessarily have all you need and most gear is randomly dropped), and some play where getting the exact item you want when you need it is almost impossible.  I wanted it to apply to everyone, so gear's not really factored in here one way or the other.  Besides, if one party member has all the gear they want, the other probably does too, so it balances out.  Remember, this is about how classes work together in a party... it's not about PvP arena battles where one tries to kill the other.  The question is "in a given scenario, how useful is this class" not "who's better than who?"  The point is that players have more fun when they all feel like they're working together, while they get frustrated if one person is the star and someone else just feels like a henchman.

As for Dread Necromancers... last time I played one from level 1 to level 12, while it was a solid contributer it was obviously not as strong as the Sorcerer (who was clearly leaving it in the dust by level 10) and yet was obviously a fine fit with the Beguiler and Swordsage who were in the party.  While DNs have a solid list of spells, they rely on the DM giving them good monsters to reanimate... if that doesn't happen, there's not much you can do about it.  Planar Binding doesn't come with the necessary control spells so all you get out of that at the mid levels is some drastically under CR'd skeletons and maybe some useful transport (skeletal Nightmares provide flying mounts).  Getting a huge amount of skeletons isn't actually all that helpful... unless you get something really good to reanimate (like a 10 headed hydra or a really high HD giant) those guys basically become cannon fodder that gets in the way, and most of the really good zombies/skeletons are too big to fit in a lot of medium sized dungeons.    Grabbing the right Advanced Learning spells can help (Animate Dread Warrior is AMAZING if the DM ever throws a decent humanoid at you, while Ghoul Glyph, Black Sand, and Shivering Touch are all solid), but in general DNs are one of those classes that boil down to "if the DM hits me with stuff I can use they're great, otherwise not so much."

And I have to wonder about the "but they could totally use feats to get Magic Circle and Dimensional Anchor on their spell list!"  Well, yes, but should I rank a Warmage at T2 because he can do the same thing and get Planar Binding too?  What about Monks?  They can cross class UMD and get wands and scrolls of Planar Binding, Magic Circle, and so on as well!  Where does this end?  The simple answer is to look back at the original post and note that I said "equivalent optimization."  If we're comparing Dread Necromancers with the necessary two Arcane Disciples to get the spells to Planar Bind Efrettis and such, then we should be comparing them to a Sorcerer who uses Mage of the Arcane Order to get more spells on his list (that's about equivalent) and can do the exact thing... plus cast the rest of the Wizard list.  The DN is still behind, and noticeably so.  Wha