Author Topic: Tier System For Classes (Repost)  (Read 451958 times)

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The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #360 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.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 06:40:31 AM by The_Mad_Linguist »
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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #361 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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #362 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.

Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #363 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 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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #364 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.
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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #365 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.

Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #366 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.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 02:53:20 PM by Benly »

Kuroimaken

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #367 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.
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Havok4

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #368 on: November 25, 2010, 06:14:24 PM »
You forgot the binder 4 bonus feat.  That helps with the feat issue a bit.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #369 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).

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #370 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!
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Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #371 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.)

Kuroimaken

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #372 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.
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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #373 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.
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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #374 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 .
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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #375 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
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 11:31:56 AM by JaronK »

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #376 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.
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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #377 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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #378 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?
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JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #379 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