Author Topic: Tier System For Classes (Repost)  (Read 466253 times)

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awaken DM golem

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #120 on: December 09, 2009, 06:35:22 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.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #121 on: December 09, 2009, 07:20:49 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.

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.

Bloody Initiate

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #122 on: December 09, 2009, 07:46:17 PM »
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.

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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #123 on: December 09, 2009, 07:58:36 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.

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.

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bearsarebrown

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #124 on: December 09, 2009, 08:03:03 PM »
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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #125 on: December 09, 2009, 08:10:19 PM »
A Wizard hardly cares. That is a good buff at low levels, but grows more and more unnecessary.

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bearsarebrown

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #126 on: December 09, 2009, 08:28:10 PM »
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.

JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #127 on: December 09, 2009, 08:37:20 PM »
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

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #128 on: December 09, 2009, 08:57:17 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.

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)...
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Bloody Initiate

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #129 on: December 09, 2009, 09:09:22 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 09:12:19 PM by Bloody Initiate »
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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #130 on: December 09, 2009, 09:41:12 PM »
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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #131 on: December 09, 2009, 09:50:32 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 09:52:12 PM by Bloody Initiate »
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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #132 on: December 09, 2009, 11:00:28 PM »
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). 

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Brainpiercing

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #133 on: December 10, 2009, 06:39:18 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.

JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #134 on: December 10, 2009, 06:59:07 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

Brainpiercing

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #135 on: December 11, 2009, 06:21:59 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...

JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #136 on: December 11, 2009, 08:22:57 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...

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.

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Brainpiercing

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #137 on: December 11, 2009, 09:13:58 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...

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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #138 on: December 11, 2009, 11:02:13 AM »
Lolth-touched is at least on the PDF I downloaded from there. Indexed under templates given by a deity.

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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #139 on: December 19, 2009, 11:38:36 PM »
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