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Discussion: Limiting PrC Dipping


Races & Classes

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This was something that occured to me recently when I was reading a discussion on multiclassing. A lot of people complain about Prestige Class Dipping leading to overpowered or broken characters that take advantage of loopholes in the rules. Similarly one of the things that many seem to like about the 3.X systems are the freedom of character options it allows them to have.

Thinking on this, I became curious if there was a way that you could slow or limit the incessant dipping into PrCs and character classes while allowing people who really wanted to go for it to keep their options open for unique builds.

I'm wondering what other people think about this commonly-heard grievance. I'm also curious if anyone has a possible solution to the problem.

As an example, one solution I came up with is to impose a penalty similar to the XP penalty that is imposed multiclassing into too many base classes:

Players may choose a prestige class for their characters so long as they meet the base requirements for that prestige class. However, for each PrC after the first that they take a level in, a cumulative 10% Experience Point penalty is enacted.


Pathfinder base classes have some built-in reasons NOT to PrC out of them. For example, if you award Wizard, Sorcerer, and Cleric spell-like abilities based on class level, not caster level, then prestige casters lose out on a lot of nifty abilities.

Taldor

Subversive wrote:


Players may choose a prestige class for their characters so long as they meet the base requirements for that prestige class. However, for each PrC after the first that they take a level in, a cumulative 10% Experience Point penalty is enacted.

Unfortunately this puts the onerous back onto the DM for the PC's choices. It makes xp calculation that much more complicated and starts to effect party balance and encounter development after awhile. It would be better if there were more postive ways to reinforce this behavior.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Pathfinder base classes have some built-in reasons NOT to PrC out of them. For example, if you award Wizard, Sorcerer, and Cleric spell-like abilities based on class level, not caster level, then prestige casters lose out on a lot of nifty abilities.

Well, I'm not sure if that should be the goal, really. PrCs should be a nice choice for a player looking to focus on a distinct character concept, where if a player chooses to go 10 levels in a PrC, good for them!

The focus of the thread is to discuss class dipping, whether or not there should be rules enacted to limit it, and what some of those rules might be.

-Steve


Pete Apple wrote:
Unfortunately this puts the onerous back onto the DM for the PC's choices. It makes xp calculation that much more complicated and starts to effect party balance and encounter development after awhile. It would be better if there were more postive ways to reinforce this behavior.

Regarding complicating the XP calculations, that's up to the DM. Most, I feel, would have the player assume responsibility for calculating their XP penalty and just give out the base XP earned per party member. If your players aren't being honest, that's another issue outside of the bounds of this discussion.

Secondly, it's not like it's that hard to calculate penalties that are multiples of .10.

As for positively reinforcing the behavior, I challenge you to come up with a method for this. The targets of the this discussion are players who dip one or two levels into a variety of PrCs to obtain broken or overpowering effects. The only way to prevent them from doing this using positive reinforcement methodology is to either perfectly balance all combinations of all PrCs (impossible) or make base classes just as overpowered (untenable) as their broken combination of mishmashed levels.

Cumulative XP penalties are an accepted part of the game for multiclassing, my proposition is to extend them to other aspects of character levelling in a logical way.

-Steve


My issue with XP penalties is that they penalize the other characters more than the character who accrues them. If "Mr. 26 Classes" falls behind a level, then his companions need to work harder to keep him alive. Meanwhile, he continues on as if it's no big deal.

Seems like it would be simpler to emphasize the word "prestige," and just houserule maximum one PrC per character.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

My issue with XP penalties is that they penalize the other characters more than the character who accrues them. If "Mr. 26 Classes" falls behind a level, then his companions need to work harder to keep him alive. Meanwhile, he continues on as if it's no big deal.

Seems like it would be simpler to emphasize the word "prestige," and just houserule maximum one PrC per character.

It's the reponsibility of the DM to provide the players with appropriate encounters to their level. It takes a while for a severely XP-penalized player to lag behind his fellow gamers. Even if he's accruing a 50% penalty at level 10, he'll still be advancing one level for every 2 of his teammates.

Besides, if the goal is to make it difficult for players seeking to create broken class combinations, I would argue that this succeeds at that goal.


In the New Rules section, I posted a rule for multiclassing where you get your favored class "for free," can take one extra class and one prestige class, but any class beyond your one "free" multi class, and any extra PrC beyond the first, you need to take a feat to get.


If there's a problem with front-loaded prestige classes, isn't it better to fix it by making the whole prestige class worth taking, rather than by adding some arbitrary penalty?


I must concur with Hogarth. The problem seems to be with PrCs, some of which (Master of Many Forms) are now subsumed into base classes anyway.

But this presumes things like taking a level of duelist for the Canny Defense (add WIS bonus to AC) and other nifty initial abilities. Honestly, which combo(s) within the SRD are subject to 'dipping'? With the new base clases, is this even a viable strategy?


hogarth wrote:
If there's a problem with front-loaded prestige classes, isn't it better to fix it by making the whole prestige class worth taking, rather than by adding some arbitrary penalty?

Refer to my post above. The problem I'm addressing is dipping to gain an amplification effect from other dipped class abilities, the end result being near-game breaking effects. "Fixing" prestige classes to gain parity with this will result in hosts of prestige classes with similar results, obviously not a desired outcome.

The penalty I'm proposing is no more arbitrary than the penalty for multiclassing base-classes.

-Steve

Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Well Pathfinder could always put the PrC back into the DM's hands. As originally written a Prestige Class was a DM's tool to create higher level organizations for the PC's to interact with and join, not a candy store for Players to grab goodies out of willy nilly. It was supposed to be something special.

That was one aspect of 3E I didn't enjoy was seeing the glut of PrC's come out in brown covered books instead of blue ones.


Rhishisikk wrote:

I must concur with Hogarth. The problem seems to be with PrCs, some of which (Master of Many Forms) are now subsumed into base classes anyway.

But this presumes things like taking a level of duelist for the Canny Defense (add WIS bonus to AC) and other nifty initial abilities. Honestly, which combo(s) within the SRD are subject to 'dipping'? With the new base clases, is this even a viable strategy?

What I'm addressing isn't limited to the SRD prestige classes. This is a general rules change intended to conform the game to better overall standards. Of course, Pathfinder can't alter actual prestige classes outside of the scope of the SRD. However, to this fact I offer two points:

First, many many game groups will incorporate rules and books beyond what Paizo puts out.

Second, if Paizo continues to support Pathfinder with new suppliments, inevitably the number of Prestige Classes and feats they release will lead to unforseen combination similar to those seen with WotC's. This is compounded even further by the increase in feats availible to characters from level 1-20, up from 7 to 10, allowing access to multiple Prestige Classes even sooner.

There should be some sort of rule that will take this points into consideration.

-Steve


primemover003 wrote:

Well Pathfinder could always put the PrC back into the DM's hands. As originally written a Prestige Class was a DM's tool to create higher level organizations for the PC's to interact with and join, not a candy store for Players to grab goodies out of willy nilly. It was supposed to be something special.

That was one aspect of 3E I didn't enjoy was seeing the glut of PrC's come out in brown covered books instead of blue ones.

I agree with you to a big extent, and I love the original design and reasoning given for prestige classes. But I also feel that there should be some considerations given to that large number of DMs that will turn to the brown books to save some time, or to quiet the crying requests of their players, or pick up future Paizo suppliments. A standard rule will help to bring prestige classes back to their root intent.

-Steve


There is allready a fix in place with regards to prestige classes: GM discression. Anything and everything relating to prestige classes is at the call of the GM, including the allowance for dipping, et cetera.

Honestly, jumping through tons of base classes is just as dangerous as prestige dipping. Think along the lines of a Human Fighter 1/ Barbarian 1/ Cleric 1: You're looking at a +2 BAB, a +6 base fort save, self healing, self buffing, enraging, AoE healing monster, with Practiced Spellcaster as his third level feat. Class dipping in general can create massive headaches, not just Prestige dipping.

The solution? GM intervention. "No, you CAN'T take seven different base classes, and no you can't take eight prestige classes."

There's no need to make an express rule for this. If you are a player, and not a GM, then talk to your GM about it. Tell him you are concerned with the power level of your companion. Blue lightning bolts have the tendancy to solve LOTS of player issue.


Greaver Blade wrote:

There is allready a fix in place with regards to prestige classes: GM discression. Anything and everything relating to prestige classes is at the call of the GM, including the allowance for dipping, et cetera.

Honestly, jumping through tons of base classes is just as dangerous as prestige dipping. Think along the lines of a Human Fighter 1/ Barbarian 1/ Cleric 1: You're looking at a +2 BAB, a +6 base fort save, self healing, self buffing, enraging, AoE healing monster, with Practiced Spellcaster as his third level feat. Class dipping in general can create massive headaches, not just Prestige dipping.

The solution? GM intervention. "No, you CAN'T take seven different base classes, and no you can't take eight prestige classes."

There's no need to make an express rule for this. If you are a player, and not a GM, then talk to your GM about it. Tell him you are concerned with the power level of your companion. Blue lightning bolts have the tendancy to solve LOTS of player issue.

I agree with this to a degree, but there are limiters in place for someone who takes a bunch of base classes. For starters, you have to address MAD, and while your friends are casting 2nd level spells, you're stuck at 1st, and you're -1 BAB behind a pure fighting class. Not to mention as you level up, you have to keep all your classes within 1 level of each other or suffer an XP penalty similar to the one I'm proposing. These all act as limiting factors.

Now I'm not saying that there aren't ways to break the game with base-class dipping, which is why I'm going to try and avoid having this build or that referenced in this discussion. I'm sure that combinations, in concordance with the selection of specific splatbook feats, exist. But there is a limiting factors in place for this already beyond DM fiat in the form of an XP penalty.

And, to an extent, that proves my point.

-Steve


Subversive wrote:
Refer to my post above. The problem I'm addressing is dipping to gain an amplification effect from other dipped class abilities, the end result being near-game breaking effects. "Fixing" prestige classes to gain parity with this will result in hosts of prestige classes with similar results, obviously not a desired outcome.

That's the opposite of what I'm saying! If a particular prestige class has a lot of goodies that you can get from a single "dip", then those abilities should probably be spread out over the life of the class. Do you have a particular example in mind? It might be easier to comment if I knew exactly what you're talking about.

Subversive wrote:
The penalty I'm proposing is no more arbitrary than the penalty for multiclassing base-classes.

I believe the penalty for non-favored class multiclassing has been removed in Pathfinder. Now you just get a +1 hp benefit if you take a level in your favored class.


There's multiclassing penalties in Pathfinder? I saw nothing in the Alpha 3 ruleset.

I don't know if I missed something or not. The only reference to anything related to the previous multiclassing issue is the new take on preffered classes is the bonus hit point per level. In fact, there are references above about how XP penalties were "The old way of doing things."

So, are there still XP penalties in the game? Or have those (finally and thankfully) gone away?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The way I see it, the players who dare to go in this direction are entering into a deadly competition in which they cannot hope to prevail: an arms race with the DM.

Myself and at least one other DM I'm friends with have the rule that You can twink Your characters out however much You want. However if You do, then don't be surprised when You encounter NPCs who use Your rules exploits to their advantage too!

Also, the 3.5 RAW on multiclassing are broken. As outlined in UA, the design intent was for characters to get the good save's +2 bonus ONCE PER SAVE, not every time they pick up a new class. While the rules as given in UA aren't the easiset to implement for this, I outlined a method that is easy to follow here:
http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderR PG/general/suggestionHandlingMulticlassBABSaves

Furthermore, as Hogarth says, PrC design needs to pay attention to the potential for dipping abuse. If 1st level a class ability allows You to add Your Charisma bonus to all saves then that's definitely worth it for a munchkin to dip into. However, if the ability is instead worded, "add up to one point of Your Charisma bonus per class level," then that means an actual commitment is required in order to reap the full benefits of cheesing out Your Charisma.

As for XP penalties, I disagree with the use of these for the same reason I disliked XP penalties for dying and item creation and excessive Level Adjustments. Not only is book-keeping more difficult, but it also complicates matters when not everyone in the party is of a similar level.

For this reason, I'd say that DM-intervention is best: "Uh... No. You're not doing that. Don't be a dork."

Simple, huh?


Here is something I came up with to help limit the dipping. I had posted it in the Alpha 2 area by mistake.

I have searched and found some ideas for saving throw changes and most of them are in regard to multiclassing. I have my own suggestion. I would like to state now if it has been mentioned earlier, I appologize. My computer has been down and I tried to do a quick search.

At first level each character receives +2 save in good and bad saves. Then if it is a good save he receives +1/2 per level rounded down (just like hp). A poor save gives +1/4 per level rounded down. This is slightly skewed to help the lower level individual in his bad save. Also multiclassing only adds to the equation (no more +2 at 1st again) It looks like this...

Level...Good save....Bad Save
1.......+2...........+2
2.......+3...........+2
3.......+3...........+3
4.......+4...........+3
5.......+4...........+3
6.......+5...........+3
7.......+5...........+4
8.......+6...........+4
9.......+6...........+4
10......+7...........+4
11......+7...........+5
12......+8...........+5
13......+8...........+5
14......+9...........+5
15......+9...........+6
16......+10..........+6
17......+10..........+6
18......+11..........+6
19......+11..........+7
20......+12..........+7

If the good save collumn looks familiar it is because it has not changed. The bad save now adds +2 but progresses by 1/4 rather than 1/3. This gives less of a descrepancy for the bad save and does not allow one to easily size up an opponent. Oh a giant, will save. Oh an animal, will save. Fighter, will save again.

For a multiclass character just multiply and add +2.

A 5th level cleric/4th level figher will have Good fortitude saves in both so at 9th level he has +6. Reflex save will use 9 levels of bad progression, +4. So will is the only one we need to use math on. 5 level good that is (5/2)+ 4 levels bad (4/4)=3.5+2 rounded down to +5.

The Pathfinder RPG could also limit divine grace and the wisdom bonus to AC monks receive to one bonus/level, much like the AC bonus of the duelist. That way you have to take more levels to gain the most out dipping.

I know many DMs that require one to finish a prestige class before continuing in another. After all, why do you want to be a duelist or arch-mage?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

We put a cap on multiclassing to 3. Worked for my group 'cause they all came from 1ed and were used to that, plus nobody was a munchkin. PrC was considered to be a continuation of one of the base classes and could put your total up to 4 but base class didn't progress anymore (I think one guy had 2 base classes and 2 PrC once, figured it still fit our rules).

We found the experience point penalties pretty meaningless, cause they liked playing lower levels so slower advancement kept them in their sweet spot longer, and since most had some penalty everyone generally still advanced at the same rate.


Hey people, someone knows anything about the new versions of the prestige classes? could some of the "paizo lords" publish something about that here?

you know... at least the new versions of the dwarven defender, the arcane archer and the assassin..

Osirion

Multiclassing is fine the way it is. No need to limit it.

I know I see the whole class/PrC thing differently than most people.
In my game I don't actually use the class names when describing a person/character. See that guy, he's a priest of Zeus and that guy there is a Acolyte of Ares. (Cleric of Zeus and a fighter who worships Ares.) I also see feats/class abilities the same way. That guy can slice through a brick wall with his sword. (I don't say that guy has power attack, rage, weapon focus and weapon specialization, etc...)

I've made a few all single level classes, level 12 characters, or other similar builds. It's a fun exercise and they are fun to play. (And as you would guess the spell casters built this way are not so powerful, the melee guys turn out pretty cool. Not that playing the spell caster wasn't fun, because it was.)

Anyway... I'm not sure the above makes sense to anyone but me... but I'm sharing anyways, because I can. :)


hogarth wrote:
Subversive wrote:

That's the opposite of what I'm saying! If a particular prestige class has a lot of goodies that you can get from a single "dip", then those abilities should probably be spread out over the life of the class. Do you have a particular example in mind? It might be easier to comment if I knew exactly what you're talking about.

I believe the penalty for non-favored class multiclassing has been removed in Pathfinder. Now you just get a +1 hp benefit if you take a level in your favored class.

I'm not sure one way or the other about the penalty being removed. If true, this conversation probably becomes moot.

Unfortunately it's not necessarily about accessing game breaking abilities from a single prestige class. It's about using combinations of prestige classes to obtain overpowered characters, and in some cases game breaking effects.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work, so I can't look up the class names right now, but as an example, I can build a character that - with the correct selection of classes and PrCs - has access to both backstabbing and spellcasting *at or above character level* at the cost of only a single level of spell slots. There's very little MAD, and the character makes use of 2-3 PrCs and 2 base classes. That's not even comparable to the builds people were making on the Optimization Boards over at WotC.

I'll list the levels and feats when I get back in the afternoon.

-Steve


Greaver Blade wrote:

There's multiclassing penalties in Pathfinder? I saw nothing in the Alpha 3 ruleset.

I don't know if I missed something or not. The only reference to anything related to the previous multiclassing issue is the new take on preffered classes is the bonus hit point per level. In fact, there are references above about how XP penalties were "The old way of doing things."

So, are there still XP penalties in the game? Or have those (finally and thankfully) gone away?

Presumably since there is nothing specifically mentioned about taking them out, they are still in place in accordance with the SRD. There are not references to XP penalties. There are references to XP and level *loss* afaik.

-Steve

Osirion

I usually limit PCs to one prestige class. And even then, they have to do some roleplaying and in-game action to acquire it.

For example, when running Red Hand of Doom, I added an Halfling Rogue/Assassin who shadowed the party, popping in and out to mentor the party rogue/fighter, eventually giving him a mission to assassinate one of the Brindol elite to prevent the war from tipping to the hobgoblins. Finally, once all was said and done, he tailed the party to the final lair and helped fight the villains.

That NPC got more screen time than any in the campaign, and all because one player asked for a prestige class.


I've been blessed with players who tend to pick classes based on character concept, rather than mechanical power-mongering. So I've never had an issue with this sort of thing. One player had a paladin who, over the course of a campaign, he allowed to "fall to the dark side" and become a blackguard, and who eventually redeemed himself, and ultimately decided to forgo all that silly knight stuff and become a sorcerer. I pointed out that after 6 levels of sorcerer that he might want to pick up some levels in Eldritch Knight, to at least make use of some of his former melee abilities (expecially considering that 90% of his other class features had been lost); he just shrugged. He wanted to play the character he envisioned, and was more or less indifferent to classes as long as they allowed it.

Shadow Lodge

Threads like this are frustrating. There is no simple patch that Paizo can do to fix stuff that is broken outside of core. It's like trying to patch the OS to fix a bug in an individual application. You're not talking about problems with the core system here, you are talking about poorly written Prestige Classes. Nothing Paizo can do will fix that. Sure you can try to put together some hacks that might limit it but it's unlikely to fix the majority of problems and very likely to affect people trying to do legitimate things.

If you want to fix some things about a PrC, rather than trying to push for an upstream change it makes a lot more sense to fix that class and houserule your version. That means you have to say no to your players and actually take responsibility for your game which is much tougher than just following the rulebooks by rote.

If you are expecting Pathfinder to fix non-core abuses you are going to be sorely disappointed.


On a related note, when I first saw 3rd edition D&D the fact that you could choose any multiclass combination you want bowled me over. It was love at first sight! I loved the idea of mixing and matching weird stuff and the "anything goes" spirit behind it.

Now in practice, I haven't had very many multiclass characters at all -- generally a couple of classes is my limit (one base + one prestige, or two base classes). But I like the option of taking whatever I want.

I used to hang around WotC's Character Optimization board a lot; certainly there are some abusive combinations of feats/prestige classes/base classes/etc. out there, but I'd rather fix the problem with a house rule rather than impose a limit saying "your character can be THIS complicated, and no more".

Andoran

I'm of the opinion that now that the core classes don't suck and actually give nifty perks at high levels, PrC dipping will be cut down a bit.

Personally, I've never been too concerned with it. The flexibility and wide array of options have always been a good thing, I think, although it does have the potential to punish non min-maxers. Again, the strength of the core classes now should mitigate that problem.

Osirion

Don't forget the old standby:

If you munchkin your character, there is most likely another NPC who figured it out first, and who is 3-4 levels higher than you.

That is a good way to traumatize an abusively mechanical player.

What gets my goat is when a player build a character on broken mechanics, and when you call them on it, they get all defensive and then don't want to play a toned-down version of their uber-PC.

Andoran

Jal Dorak wrote:

Don't forget the old standby:

If you munchkin your character, there is most likely another NPC who figured it out first, and who is 3-4 levels higher than you.

That is a good way to traumatize an abusively mechanical player.

What gets my goat is when a player build a character on broken mechanics, and when you call them on it, they get all defensive and then don't want to play a toned-down version of their uber-PC.

Yeah, that is annoying. It's one reason why I generally detest 3rd party published materials.

That's actually a strong compliment for Paizo. Third party stuff has to be good for a DM like me to consider it, nevermind be happy with it.


Jal Dorak wrote:
What gets my goat is when a player build a character on broken mechanics, and when you call them on it, they get all defensive and then don't want to play a toned-down version of their uber-PC.

Yeah, that's not cool. I haven't had it happen to me personally (I'm a pretty permissive DM, generally), but I've seen some players who an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.


I've always had this out look about Players taking a Prestige Class, and thats that it is in fact a Prestige Class. Its a Prestigous Class, treat it as one. Its ment to be an honor, something different. Not something everyone is dabbling in like a fad.

So for me,that means you can only ever have one Prestige Class.... thats it. No exceptions, and to date I've had no complaints. Level dipping into a dozen prestige classes and core classes is just plain lame in my book.

Thats why I still enforce Favored Classes and the EXP Penatilies for Multi-Classing. Allows for Multi-Classing just fine, retaining a solid foundation which prevents alot of headaches that come with level dipping. And with out inhibiting creativity in the least.

And no complaints from either of my game groups, in fact most like it that way. Of course we started back in 2nd edition, so our mentality is abit different. Multi-Classing in 2nd was really insane.


Also, I only allow a small number of PrCs which represent organizations or martial/arcane traditions that are present in the current game setting. And most of those are homebrewd, so frontloading is easy to prevent.


Kong wrote:
So for me,that means you can only ever have one Prestige Class.... thats it. No exceptions, and to date I've had no complaints.

That's a simple and effective houserule, to be sure. The only issue I can find is that it really discourages anyone from taking any of the 5-level (as opposed to 10-level) prestige classes in the "Complete" series, because then their one prestige chance is over with far too quickly.

Andoran

I've been playing a character going for the Fochlucan Lyrist PrC. It takes a ton of skill points and three different set of class abilities that takes reaching 10th level to accomplish. It also makes for some great role-playing and campaign set up. Everyone in-game thinks he's a bit of a kook for all the things he does and all, but out-game my friends think it's a great idea even though it doesn't offer much power-wise.
Level dipping is a must for this PrC, but I've seen and played in games where it gets way out of hand. Generally it's a third party PrC that's too powerful and makes no sense in-game. We've gotten to where we only allow PrC from WotC only products. This is probably going to change with PathfinderRPG however.

Andoran

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

personally, I'm of the opinion that a prestige class is a paragon of your training thus far. It is what most dream of doing and never can.

My players know this - and I do not allow multiple PrCs to be taken. I further enforce it by stipulating that once you take a prestige class - you have to complete it - you can't "opt out" or start taking other class levels.

If one needs a system to still allow multiple PrCs to be taken, but make it a harder choice to do - either apply a 20% xp penalty - OR an idea I've come up with is apply a +1 LA to the character.

At the time the person takes the 1st level in his 2nd prestige class, it takes him twice as much xp to get to the next level - being 1 level behind - like a LA would do. If the player is an uber-munchkin and the DM permissive enough to allow it - and the player then opts to take a 3rd PrC, then double that level too.....PC is now LA +2!

That takes care of the power curve exacerbation that the OP is concerned with - since said PC would be 2 character levels lower than the APL of the party - but at least he has all those cool abilities.

Robert


In my home games, I like to either limit it to one PrC per character, or require that you complete 3 levels in any class before picking up a new one. If someone dedicates 3 levels to a class, I don't consider that cherry-picking.

I don't think that this should show up as a "rule" in the book, though. Maybe a mention in the DMG (where the rules for PrCs are, anyway) that says that there are RP concerns in finding someone to teach you the basics of ANY PrC. It is up to the DM and the story as to whether any given PrC is available to your character - these are not core classes, and require more than just the prerequisites mentioned for each. The prereqs are just the starting point, and don't usually consider the roleplaying factor.

-Scott


My 2cp is that PCs should be allowed 2-3 PrCs over their pre Epic advancement (after 20th the floodgates are open). Either up to 3 PrCs that each have less than 10 levels (archmage, hierophant,thaumaturgist from the SRD) or one less than 10 level and one 10 or more more level PrC (over 10 levels in the SRD are prestige versions of bard, paladin and ranger). From non SRD sources there are too many 5 levelers to count, but the under 10 levels PrCs would include Sovereign Speaker from Faiths of Eberron (9 levels)(which could be adapted to a variety of non-Eberron campaigns as well, IMV), the Ruathar from Races of the Wild (3 levels) and the Spymaster from Complete Adventurer (7 levels), etc. For the 10+ levelers there is one I can think of other than the PrC versions of core classes: Complete Divine's Void Disciple (13 levels). The 5 levelers just don't offer enough in a number of cases to be competitive if you're only limited to one PrC pre Epic and represent a lower amount of training required in a way. As others have noted though: DM has final say over anything and in many cases I think players won't abuse this to create overpowered characters (I did say many as some will exploit any situation to increase their characters power even if PrCs were completely eliminated, they'd find other ways to bend, spindle or mutilate the rules to their purposes)


Scotto wrote:
I don't think that this should show up as a "rule" in the book, though. Maybe a mention in the DMG (where the rules for PrCs are, anyway) that says that there are RP concerns in finding someone to teach you the basics of ANY PrC. It is up to the DM and the story as to whether any given PrC is available to your character - these are not core classes, and require more than just the prerequisites mentioned for each.

Agreed. It's not the rules' place to tell all GMs exactly where to draw the lines for all things.


Robert Brambley wrote:

personally, I'm of the opinion that a prestige class is a paragon of your training thus far. It is what most dream of doing and never can.

My players know this - and I do not allow multiple PrCs to be taken. I further enforce it by stipulating that once you take a prestige class - you have to complete it - you can't "opt out" or start taking other class levels.

If one needs a system to still allow multiple PrCs to be taken, but make it a harder choice to do - either apply a 20% xp penalty - OR an idea I've come up with is apply a +1 LA to the character.

At the time the person takes the 1st level in his 2nd prestige class, it takes him twice as much xp to get to the next level - being 1 level behind - like a LA would do. If the player is an uber-munchkin and the DM permissive enough to allow it - and the player then opts to take a 3rd PrC, then double that level too.....PC is now LA +2!

That takes care of the power curve exacerbation that the OP is concerned with - since said PC would be 2 character levels lower than the APL of the party - but at least he has all those cool abilities.

Robert

Ouch.

To be honest with you, this sounds rather draconian compared to the rules proposal I'm putting forward.

-Steve

Osirion

I admit, the one problem with limiting Prestige Classes in builds, is what do you do when it IS meaningful to take more than one without penalty?

Lets say you have a player with a cleric/sorcerer, focusing on the melee aspect of his character with buff spells and the like. Now, say that player finds the Couatl temple and requests to become a Radiant Servant?

Now, a few levels down the road, surviving many gruelling battles, the same player requests to become a Warpriest?

Now, this is by far not a great build, but it is done for roleplaying reasons - should that be limited as well?

I say yes, but at least it made me think.


This is why I don't think the rules should be changed. Multiclass restrictions are like software authentication, they punish legitimate users (players) and aren't really effective at preventing pirates (munchkins).


Kong wrote:

I've always had this out look about Players taking a Prestige Class, and thats that it is in fact a Prestige Class. Its a Prestigous Class, treat it as one. Its ment to be an honor, something different. Not something everyone is dabbling in like a fad.

So for me,that means you can only ever have one Prestige Class.... thats it. No exceptions, and to date I've had no complaints. Level dipping into a dozen prestige classes and core classes is just plain lame in my book.

Thats why I still enforce Favored Classes and the EXP Penatilies for Multi-Classing. Allows for Multi-Classing just fine, retaining a solid foundation which prevents alot of headaches that come with level dipping. And with out inhibiting creativity in the least.

And no complaints from either of my game groups, in fact most like it that way. Of course we started back in 2nd edition, so our mentality is abit different. Multi-Classing in 2nd was really insane.

I have a similar house rule that says once you have taken a level in a PrC you cannot take a level in a different PrC until you have completed the first one. Also, in my campaigns all PrC are subject to DM approval and RP requirements

Cheliax

I don't see why you need a rule on this, other than "Check with your GM before taking a prestige class".

Whatever rule you come up with is going to disappoint most people, who wanted something different, and we are all going to ignore it anyway and carry on doing whatever we are doing now. (In my case, allow pretty much anything.)


amethal wrote:
I don't see why you need a rule on this, other than "Check with your GM before taking a prestige class".

Amen.

Cheliax

HalifaxDM wrote:
Also, in my campaigns all PrC are subject to DM approval and RP requirements

If I disapprove strongly enough about any part of a character build then that character is not allowed in my campaign unless it is changed.

Isn't that the same everywhere?

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do want to point out that there are some PrCs that tend to be made to line up this way, and I wouldn't want to limit it so strictly because of that.

The most obvious example I can think of is the knight classes from dragonlance. There are two sets of three, the knights of solamnia and the knights of takhesis(never remember how to spell that), and while each is different(for solamnia, first is very fighter-esque, second you need some cleric mixed in to take, third is more paladin like) they are designed to represent your progression through the order of knighthood and you cannot take a higher rank without at least a few levels in the lower one. So while you can take ten levels of the lowest rank and just be a career knight, you can also prove yourself and rise to the higher levels and develop differently because of it.

I think that with how many prestige classes are based off organizations or at least special training that these sort of roleplaying enforcements are a good way to curb them. If someone wants to be a nightsong enforcer, they had better have had some dealings with that thieves guild. A drunken master will have learned the craft from someone. The requirements on PrCs are supposed to be something of a limiting factor, showing that your character has put some effort into learning these things, but it is always DM discretion about whether the skills are available to them.


The problem is that there are two types of PrCs out there:

1. The ones focused on the Prestige aspect.
These are the PrCs that are meant to be part of a campaign world background. This hearkens back to the Assassin requirement of "must have killed someone specifically to become an Assassin" thing... basically, requirements, abilities, etc, are all steeped in the lore of the campaign setting.

In this case, the DM should (if this is a homebrew campaign) decide what Prestige Classes are out there, and why they are there. The players don't decide suddenly "I want to pick up the Assassin PrC", they say "I want to join an assassin's guild and learn their abilities" and either they've already run into them (as per the story arc), or they need to seek them out and the DM has to prepare for it.

2. The ones that focused on the Class aspect.
Mystic Theurge. Eldritch Knight.
These classes are simply there to give the characters more options in abilities, but didn't work too well as a completely new class.
This wasn't the original intent of Prestige Classes at all. They were originally supposed to be the first form (Prestige focused, read the 3.0 DMG). However, PrCs in splatbooks sold well, and they added "band-aid" classes in the core rules that function like this, so it's now core.

These are the classes that make more sense that a character might just fall into due to a particular line of training. Exotic Weapon Master. Is this something where he has to find a particular weapon trainer and learn under his harsh tutelage and performs menial tasks until he understand the way of the weapon?
Maybe... if the DM wanted to enforce that. The rules themselves give nothing more than just "I learned how to use my Spiked Chain real good".

The multitude of these types of PrCs have given the players a sense of entitlement. And 500 different PrCs can make a DM go nutz if he wanted to try and incorporate them all thematically.

...

Anyone remember the original DMG stuff on classes and PrCs?
Stuff about swapping abilities (like Unearthed Arcana) so that multiclassing isn't as needed? A Ranger without any magical ability or animal companion, to get something like Rage, Fighter feats, or Sneak Attack?
This idea never really took off though, and I feel it has to do with the money making machine that is PrCs.

Why make a book with abilities that you can swap into a base class, and then pray that the DM will adjudicate it properly, etc, when you can instead just print off a metric ton of PrCs (some books have in excess of 20), and just let players pester until the DM lets them pick them.

Sure, DMs can look through his library of books to see what kinds of PrCs that would fit his current players, and weave them into the campaign.
But how often does that happen?
How more often is it that the players find the things they want and then badger their DM into letting them play it, without any thematic addition to the campaign.

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