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Experience with limiting the number of PrCs


D&D 3.5/d20/OGL


Does anyone has experience with limiting the number of Prestigeclasses a character can take?

e.g.

- a character can only take 1 or 2 PrCs
- the character has to finish the levels in each PrC

Is it worth the effort and trouble with players?

Qadira

I would say that someone can only take 1 PrC per character. We've never had someone that wanted to mix PrCs, or at least none that have ever asked the DM about it.

Maybe PrCs that only have 3-5 levels, but I wouldn't allow multiple 10-level PrCs.

Taldor

I've never had a player take more than one but then I don't have players that try for the uber-combos that you can get with that sort of thing.
Make a stand and just say that's how it's going to be, what's the worst that can happen?

Andoran

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I would not have a hard fast rule... Sell it to me in story terms and it is fine, but using it as a way to min/max your character? Not going to happen!

Cheliax

My friends had related to me a story of a player in their group that was cherry-picking PrCs to become an uber-archer; it apparently provided him with enough qualities that the rest of the group considered the character "broken" (an arcane archer able to target any foe within sight, etc). They put forth the house rule that there would be multiclass xp penalties if a character did not complete a PrC before moving on to another one, after that.

Taldor

Thammuz wrote:
My friends had related to me a story of a player in their group that was cherry-picking PrCs to become an uber-archer; it apparently provided him with enough qualities that the rest of the group considered the character "broken" (an arcane archer able to target any foe within sight, etc). They put forth the house rule that there would be multiclass xp penalties if a character did not complete a PrC before moving on to another one, after that.

Hrm, I like that idea...

Osirion

I have a standing house rule:

]Prestige classes are rare and I consider them a special reward; therefore, once you take a level in a prestige class, you cannot take levels in another prestige class until you have mastered (leveled out) your current prestige class.[/quote wrote:

I've found it works really well for keeping characters 'on track'.


Tarek Kieselbach wrote:

Does anyone has experience with limiting the number of Prestigeclasses a character can take?

I eliminated PrCs entirely. I then allowed increased flexibility in the regular Core classes in terms of trading out Fighter Bonus Feats, Sneak Attack Dice or other Special Abilities for abilties taken from PrCs or non-Core classes.

Now Players can basically customize a Core class to become any concept they want without being tied to a PrC, there is no multi-classing uber-Save bonuses and the general Class-to-Class balance between the Core Classes is maintained.

See HERE for more info.

HTH,

Rez

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tarek Kieselbach wrote:


Does anyone has experience with limiting the number of Prestigeclasses a character can take?

e.g.

- a character can only take 1 or 2 PrCs
- the character has to finish the levels in each PrC

Is it worth the effort and trouble with players?

Short Answer: No, it isn't.

Slightly longer answer: Look, it depends on your group, and how well you know the rules, and your game. I mean, if someone is somehow cherry picking prestige classes and making himself broken, then don't allow more than 2 prestige classes per player.

In all honesty, I had a player who had two main classes, two prestige classes and was considering another. What happened to him in my game? His character came back from the dead about 12 times. The character who stayed in his main class? Died once due to his own actions. That was my own game. Yours might not be the same, but in all honesty, I'd let them go nuts and see if it ruins the game.


Rezdave wrote:
Tarek Kieselbach wrote:

Does anyone has experience with limiting the number of Prestigeclasses a character can take?

I eliminated PrCs entirely. I then allowed increased flexibility in the regular Core classes in terms of trading out Fighter Bonus Feats, Sneak Attack Dice or other Special Abilities for abilties taken from PrCs or non-Core classes.

Now Players can basically customize a Core class to become any concept they want without being tied to a PrC, there is no multi-classing uber-Save bonuses and the general Class-to-Class balance between the Core Classes is maintained.

See HERE for more info.

HTH,

Rez

This is what I do as well; PrCs are just an unnecessary and potentially abusive detour.

Qadira

The only reason I take PrCs is for roleplaying purposes and character concepts. I know the rules well enough to min/max all I want, but I'm lazy and that's just too much work for something that usually ruins the game for everyone else. I must use my gameplay knowledge for good, not evil.

The easy way? If you want PrCs, make them part of an organization. One specific organization per PrC, and a player can't be part of multiple organizations of that type. Agents keep tabs on the character until he's proven his loyalty. Hell, someone can make having multiple PrCs a story by infiltrating an enemy organization and stealing secrets to the training of the PrC, or by being accepted under false pretenses and getting them to train him. After that, of course, they'll be personal enemies of that guild, clan, or what have you, and they will probably be under constant attack. It's all about making it interesting. When someone asks you if they can have multiple PrCs, don't say no; let them find out that it's more trouble than it's worth on their own. Just remember that they need to find the people to train them, and make sure that these clubs are very exclusive.


I think the ultimate question here is "How do you say 'no' to a player?" The answer is courage. Look over the proposal in private, without them standing over your shoulder, and ask the following questions:

1. Is this a reasonable request?
2. Will it give the player character too much schtick at the expense of any of the other PCs?
3. Does it fit within your world?

If the answer is No! to any of them, then you can be justified in using Power Word: No on the player.

Andoran

In a vein similar to HunteroftheDusk's guild method, I change the entrance into a prestige class from simply having the stats in the right places into what boils down to an entrance exam. This can be a simple one-time encounter, or you can play the whole thing as a sidequest for the whole group. Lemme quote the Paladin prestige quest I wrote up over in my campaign world ideas thread.

Cato Novus' Twisted Mind wrote:

Prestige Quests

Paladin: "The Final Test"

Metrioch will be used as the god in this example

Provided Materials: Every candidate is provided with a Merciful Longsword that they must use throughout the quest.

--------------------------------------------
Qualification Exam #1: Mounted Combat
The Candidate must ride his mount through an obstacle course to the end, all while destroying stationary targets. Any candidate who falls from his mount or injures his mount is disqualified.

Success = Course completion & 15 out of 20 targets destroyed.
--------------------------------------------

Qualification Exam #2: Personal Combat
The Candidate must compete against others in a tournament of 25 hopefuls. The top 5 proceed to The Final Test. The order in which they each go is determined by their place in the tournament.
--------------------------------------------

The Final Test consists of 3 challenges: The Challenge of Wisdom, The Challenge of Courage, and The Challenge of Strength.

--------------------------------------------
The Challenge of Wisdom
Within this chamber stands Sariel, the Angel of Wisdom. When approached, he introduces himself, reveals the rest of the room, and poses a riddle: "Only those who cross the center of world shall prove themselves wise."

The room beyond Sariel is a great pit, with the tops of pillars interspersed, each pillar has a letter on top.

Solution: Every pillar will fall when stepped on, except for those with an O, R, or L, as those are the center of the word "world".

You can see I was channeling The Last Crusade and The Golden Child when I thought this up.
--------------------------------------------

The Challenge of Courage
As the candidate passes down a corridor, a demon will burst through a wall, proclaiming himself free of his prison, that that he shall burn down the heavens in retribution. The candidate can tell by looking at this demon that he is far from a match.

Attempting to stop or delay the demon while the party backtracks to find Sariel is grounds for passing. The willingness to take oneself against seemingly insurmountable odds proves that while the candidate is afraid, he acts in spite of his fear. The demon either reveals himself to be an Angel in disguise, or is actually a demon, but one who has seen the light and pledged himself to Metrioch.
--------------------------------------------

The Challenge of Strength
As the candidate enters the next chamber, he meets another Angel named Gadrael, the Holy Messenger of Metrioch. Gadrael informs the candidate that the Challenge of Strength is to be a non-lethal duel against him. Gadrael surrenders when below 20% health or when his Longsword is Sundered.

Upon completion of The Final Test, Gadrael bestows upon the candidate three rewards: the title "Paladin of Metrioch"; a new weapon, a Holy Longsword that has a slight golden glow, and glows more brightly in the presence of Evil; and enough experience to gain his first level as a Paladin.
--------------------------------------------

When you require a character to earn the Prestige Class(which makes more since, as such classes are supposed to be more pretigeous than the base classes), it makes the player look more closely at the class.

In addition, by making entry into Prestige Classes quest based, the player doesn't necessarily need the specific requirements(in the forementioned quest, Mounted Combat{a prerequisit for the Prestige Paladin}isn't necessary, but definitely helps) as long as they can pass the test(s).


I think my approach is a bit different from that of the other posters.
I think of characters adventuring as picking up different skills along the way, sometimes by virtue of experience, sometimes by virtue of magic, sometimes by virtue of an innate ability finally surfacing, divine intervention, etc.

The point is I don't see classes as "Professional or Academic Career Paths" the pwers and abiltities gained are what you pick up from doing what you do.

So if it makes sense that the character can develop as a Shadow Dancer and then a Dread Pirate - or whatever no issue. The PrCs (and normal classes) just package a balanced progression of abilities.

So any mix of classes that makes sense in the PC (or NPCs) story is fine.

I think that makes more sense.

Some classes may be exceptions but for the most part I think this approach more closely reflects both real life (I know many people have no desire to see real world analogies encroach on their gaming) and the fantasy literature the game is derived from.

For example myself - My primary work is in sales, but have also been an karate instructor, a professor, a diving instructor, a writer, all over lapping - I didn't take a level in sales guy, and then a level in scuba, etc. I did those things concurrently and hit different bench marks as I pursued each.

I guess in the end I don't think of prestige classes being very "Prestigious" they are just specialized skill progressions - rarely more powerful - just more focused. So mixing and matching is no problem.


I find most arguments about PrCs to be ill concieved...

More often than not, it isn't a matter of the PrCs being broken or the extent of a player's PC building knowledge, but the degree of role-playing said player is capable of.

If their RP skills are not mature enough to handle powerful PCs, don't allow them to make PCs beyond their level (so to speak).

I almost always make "min/maxed" PCs; highly focused and potent in a single area, but sub-par (at best) in most other areas. But I balance my characters through proper role-play. The end result, my PCs are almost always memorable and entertaining for me and the group.

Please don't rant about why PrCs are "broken" or why they should be limited and/or banned.

-Kurocyn


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tarek Kieselbach wrote:
Is it worth the effort and trouble with players?

Usually not.

The better solution to limiting the number of PrCs per character is limiting the available PrCs in the campaign. Most PrCs have enough of a trade-off in either prerequisites or advancement to limit the cherry-picking benefit. The ones which don't (abjurant champion, I'm looking at you) can either be banned outright or adjusted to suit the DM's preferences. Also, many PrCs presume organizations that require memberships before qualifying for the PrC.

As both a player and a DM, I've never had a character who's taken more than two or three prestige classes over 20 levels. The only PrC that I ever "dip" is spellsword for the 10% arcane spell failure reduction.

Cheliax

One of the players in my group loves multi-classing.

He gets bored with his characters very quickly, and for some reason multi-classing helps to keep him interested.

He tries to make super characters by taking multiple classes (including prestige classes), but its not a problem for our group because we all know chances are his characters will end up less powerful than they otherwise would be - and in any event his dislike of full spellcasting classes means he is never going to end up breaking the game however hard he tries.


If you don't want to take a prestige class to completion, then that is a poorly designed prestige class.

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