Author Topic: Tier System For Classes (Repost)  (Read 466237 times)

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Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #560 on: January 19, 2011, 02:32:26 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).

JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #561 on: January 19, 2011, 02:38:42 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.

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Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #562 on: January 19, 2011, 02:44:29 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.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 02:51:20 PM by Benly »

JaronK

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #563 on: January 19, 2011, 02:47:32 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).

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Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #564 on: January 19, 2011, 02:53:57 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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #565 on: January 19, 2011, 03:06:19 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.

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lans

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #566 on: January 24, 2011, 11:46:29 AM »
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.
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Tenebrus

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #567 on: February 15, 2011, 03:20:37 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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #568 on: February 15, 2011, 06:47:34 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).
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Shadeseraph

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #569 on: February 15, 2011, 06:50:29 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.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #570 on: February 15, 2011, 07:01:26 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.

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.
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bearsarebrown

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #571 on: February 15, 2011, 07:03:50 PM »
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.

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #572 on: February 15, 2011, 07:14:10 PM »
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?

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #573 on: February 15, 2011, 07:20:36 PM »
You mean like the city shape ACF?
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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #574 on: February 15, 2011, 07:54:08 PM »
Like that, yes, as a preq for the swarm form.

Benly

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #575 on: February 16, 2011, 01:37:13 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.

lans

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #576 on: February 16, 2011, 01:53:34 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.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #577 on: February 16, 2011, 09:09:00 AM »
It's actually pretty solid for several levels until you start fighting fire-resistant enemies, but it doesn't do much after that.
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lans

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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #578 on: February 16, 2011, 10:08:37 AM »
It has 3 of those feats, so 2 9th level strikes, and an 8th level stance. Or 3 level stances.
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Re: Tier System For Classes (Repost)
« Reply #579 on: February 16, 2011, 07:31:12 PM »
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.