Author Topic: Tier System For Classes (Repost)  (Read 451992 times)

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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #220 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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #221 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.

bearsarebrown

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #222 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.

Hallack

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #223 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).
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DavidWL

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #224 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.

;)
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Non-PC activities like out of combat healing should be left to wands and NPCs. It's not fun to play a walking wand of CLW. Likewise, being a combat wall is not a viable PC role. A Wall of Force could do that.

-Sort of, but you left out the important note that a Wall of Force does it better.

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Growin

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #225 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?

Surreal

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #226 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.
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DavidWL

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #227 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.

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Non-PC activities like out of combat healing should be left to wands and NPCs. It's not fun to play a walking wand of CLW. Likewise, being a combat wall is not a viable PC role. A Wall of Force could do that.

-Sort of, but you left out the important note that a Wall of Force does it better.

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The most powerful character is the one that you actually get to play.

Quote from: Operation Shoestring
I often have to remind people not to underrate divination.  The ability to effectively metagame without actually metagaming beats the ability to set things on fire more times than not.
[/spoiler]
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Brainpiercing

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #228 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.

cru

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #229 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]
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 03:00:04 PM by cru »

wotmaniac

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #230 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)

[spoiler]
If you stop ignoring 289 pages telling what the intent is to stretch "more power" in your own god complexion of your interpretation trumps all to cover ability adjustments from aging then I will ignore a quarter page of rules that exist within a sidebar.
I think in this case the grammar is less important than whether the Str and Dex bonus provided to your created undead scales.

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Jopustopin

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #231 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.

juton

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #232 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.

wotmaniac

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #233 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 that an expert can never be.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 02:06:05 AM by wotmaniac »

[spoiler]
If you stop ignoring 289 pages telling what the intent is to stretch "more power" in your own god complexion of your interpretation trumps all to cover ability adjustments from aging then I will ignore a quarter page of rules that exist within a sidebar.
I think in this case the grammar is less important than whether the Str and Dex bonus provided to your created undead scales.

Greenbound Summoning RAI
Expanded Gestalt
More Savage Progressions[/spoiler]
Report any wrongs I have done here.

Jasuhn

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #234 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.

snakeman830

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #235 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.
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lans

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #236 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?
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snakeman830

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #237 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.
I am constantly amazed by how many DM's ban Tomb of Battle.  The book doesn't even exist!

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juton

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #238 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.

lans

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #239 on: June 16, 2010, 12:55:51 AM »
So is it basically he can move+attack effectively and has some okay skills then?
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