PrC Limits.


General Discussion (Prerelease)


A 12 Ordikon avatar

I had a thought in a recent thread and posted it there- but thought I would post it here as well for general consumption and thoughts.

Sadly, Paizo is unable to give their marvelous treatment to any non-OGL Prestige Class. What they can do- and have done- is alter the mechanics behind obtaining one. They already changed the skills requirement.

The problem many folk have with them however has little to do with the skill entry requirements and much more to do with the power(s) any given class actually give to the player, such that it's becoming more and more common to see players dip and dash from one PrC to the next, with nary a thought.

Paizo can't change the PrC's but they can alter the rules for PrC availability.

What do folk in general think about a rule limiting characters to one complete PrC at a time?
i.e. once you take a level in a PrC you can't switch to a different class until you complete it. (you could go back to your base class and do it, but no more "new classes" until the PrC is complete).

This would allow the design of some classes that actually give a good benefit in the first couple of levels while spreading out some of the others (i.e. not having to backload things into levels most campaigns never get to) while also forcing PC's to pick a PRC for more than the power it gives at level one or two. it would eliminate completely the issue of "one level dipping" unless the person just wanted a single level of a single PRC.

Thoughts? Comments? Alterations? Suggestions?

note: first time got deleted. Hope repost works.


I can't see Paizo including a rule like that (ie follow through till the end), because it would quickly be ignored by many groups. They could, of course, include a sidebar with an optional rule outlining what you suggest.

The thing to remember is that if a DM applies such a rule for players, in the interest of fairness he'd have to apply the rule to his NPCs, as well. Or maybe not- depends on how evil they are! :-)


Not necessarily.

If the PC's ever know the exact make up of the creatures they are fighting, especially the NPC's, then the GM is doing something wrong.

Most often question: "How'd he do that!"

Most often answered: "You don't know."

PC's follow the rules.
the DM follows the rule: The game must be interested for the PC's, including but not limited to keeping the combats challenging (without so OP so as to kill them without hope).

But anyway: Not making a good rule just because folks will ignore it, isn't necessarily a reason not to make a rule. If the rule is solid and improves the game, it should be included. (not saying THIS rule is that way, but just generally).
If you have a good rule and folks don't follow it, then they can't then gripe about the effects Not following it would produce.

-S


I think this is an outstanding idea. It's elegant because it works in terms of game mechanics (great balancing tool) and verisimiltude (if a prestige class is supposed to represent further focus of a character, in most cases it is pretty silly to be able to change this focus repeatedly).

In the interests of flexibility (and backwards compatibility), perhaps it should be worded in such a way that suggests that additional prestige class acquisition (beyond the first that has not been completed) is only possible under extremely unusual circumstances. This still leaves it clear that it is ultimately up to the DM to decide that specific instances might still be allowed if they fit thematically, while still providing a solid general rule that discourages level-dipping and general munchkinism.


It's a popular house rule. But frankly, I don't have a big problem with people picking and choosing various bits and pieces in my game.


I haven't experienced it myself, but it seems to be a problem some folks have.

-S

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I don't think this is a good rule. I think that this is something better left in the hands of the DM - if they want prestige classes to be more difficult to join, or to join multiple PrCs, then that's best handled by them in their game by actually making the PC gain special training, joining an organization, etc. and limiting access that way. What might be good for your campaign and DM style isn't for mine. I don't have a problem with PCs picking PrCs as long as they qualify. It gives the player's a chance to avoid poorly designed prestige classes but still gain access to the parts of them that are worth it. It also means that I, as the DM, don't have to re-write the PrCs that have some lame later level abilities if I don't have the time.

The Exchange

I think something else to consider is the XP penalty that occurs for multiclassing. If that rule is enforced fairly strictly then you avoid some of the "dash of this, dollop of that" mentality. Most PRCs need two base classes mixed to be eligible for them. I don't believe that PRClasses are counted against that XP penalty but my group has ruled that they do. That makes a Player really hesitant to just grab a level or 2 of this and that unless they want to keep a bunch of classes within 1 level of each other.
I think slightly altering an existing rule to have a similar result would work better than imposing a new rule. Just add "including prestige classes" into the appropriate lines of the "XP for Multiclass Characters" section of the text and call it done. Or make the first PRC free of restrictions if that is too confining.


I didn't see the Xp penalty in Beta.. is it there and I just over looked it?

-S


This is a matter of taste, and so should not be printed in the beta.

I disallow PrCs entirely, which is really just a stricter version of this kind of rule. Both rulings come under the GM fiat.

As much as some people dislike it, the best course of action is for the rule to give the GM ultimate authority over how prestige classes are used. This was the original intent, which is why PrCs were in the DMG and not the PHB.


*re-post from the orphan thread*

While some may see the enforcement of some sort of regimine to be a good thing, I am generally against telling my players that the cannot do 'x, y, or z'. Instead, I try and understand what it is that a given player is trying to accomplish by grafting together various Classes and PrCs.
If the premise is 'cool', and there isn't a better way to accomplish the play-aspect of the character concept, I let them do what they wanted.

Recently, I made a character for a game I'm joining, and it is an EL12 with one Racial +1, and 11 levels divided between two Classes and two Advanced/PrCs. It was the best way to achieve my very specific mechanical goals which facilitated my character's background and personality.

If I had been limited to only one PrC of the two, I'm not certain that I could have achieved my goal, and that would have lessened my enjoyment of the game.
That point of view, ultimately, is what I think participation in a voluntary pastime is all about: Possibility and enjoyment for the time investment.

Just my opinion, though.

Sovereign Court

I really hate the idea of a restriction like that, personally. Multiclassing in 3.x was one of the great advances of the system and it should be freely achievable. Sure, some PrCs might be bad, but that's an issue with the PrCs in question, not the idea of PrCs.


I'm against this.

Offer it as an optional rule under "how to run the game" or "how to deal with problems", but don't let artificial restrictions like that into the standard rules.

Anyway, I think this is best done on a case-by-case basis. As long as it doesn't lead to problems, let them do what they want. If you find you have some guy twinking the hell out of his character with 20 different classes at level 10 and all the works, tell him to stop.

Frankly, a rule like that won't discourage power gamers. You can't make the system secure against power gamers without ruining the fun for everyone else. So you don't. You leave the game open, and deal with problem players. P'n'P games can do that, and should.

Fake Healer wrote:

I think something else to consider is the XP penalty that occurs for multiclassing.

Except that Pathfinder doesn't use it at all.

Beyond that, I hate that sort of balancing. I loved how 3e made a level worth a level, and don't want them go back to 2e's ways in that.

Selgard wrote:


PC's follow the rules.
the DM follows the rule: The game must be interested for the PC's, including but not limited to keeping the combats challenging (without so OP so as to kill them without hope).

A good GM follows the rule: Don't let the enemy do anything you don't allow the PCs to do as well, unless you have a really really good reason.

The GM's word is final. Except in the question on whether someone wants to keep playing in the campaign. If you play GT (game tyrant), you might find yourself without players - and unlike real world tyrants, you cannot force them to keep playing....


You could compromise on the point-- create groups of PrCs within organizations that allow a member to shift amongst them without issue. For instance, an evil church might have Thaumaturgists, Loremasters, and Mystic Theurges in its ranks. A member might start as a MT, find that Loremaster also fits his plans to seek out old ruins, and later, after a brush with a connivving devil decide to pursue a Thaumaturgist path. Because all these sects exist within the church, shifting is a nonissue. However, late in his career, he finds he qualifies for archmage and considers taking a level. With this model, he couldn't until he completes the stories to gain the tutelage of a Lich Archmage who was once a follower of the Church. Now he might be approached by others seeking his knowledge-- generating more stories.

An Elvish warrior college might offer Arcane Archer, Duelist, and Eldritch Knight. By defeating a student of a particular school, one could begin studying that school.

A druidic circle could offer Hierophant, Horizon Walker, and Loremaster, permitting advancement between PrCs after successful quests.

A thieves' guild might count Assassins, Arcane Tricksters, and Shadowdancers in its number. Assisting a particular master in a job might gain the favor to learn his techniques.

This bundling allows for diversity and flavor while keeping dilettante attitude from running rampant.

-Ben.

Sovereign Court

Fake Healer wrote:
I don't believe that PRClasses are counted against that XP penalty but my group has ruled that they do.

As per the rules of 3.5, they don't count against that limit (it was made clear in the 3.0 rules then they accidentally left it out of the 3.5 rules but cleared that up in the FAQ, saying that PrCs didn't attract the XP penalty and that it was a mistake of omission). However, it's obviously fine as a house rule for those that think multiclassing into PrCs is a problem.


Bagpuss wrote:
I really hate the idea of a restriction like that, personally. Multiclassing in 3.x was one of the great advances of the system and it should be freely achievable. Sure, some PrCs might be bad, but that's an issue with the PrCs in question, not the idea of PrCs.

I think Bagpuss said it best. If the first level of one class is better than the 10th level of another class then something is wrong with the one of the classes. Pathfinder's done a pretty good job of making the core classes appealing. Maybe some PrCs have front loaded powers? As far as I'm concerns any old PrCs coming into your game need to be reviewed for sanity (and should have been previously) regardless.

Dark Archive

Selgard wrote:

It would eliminate completely the issue of "one level dipping" unless the person just wanted a single level of a single PRC.

Thoughts? Comments? Alterations? Suggestions?

This is a rule for organized play, not for home games where a good DM can manage this sort of problem.


I agree in general that good DM's can cure the problem.

Good DM's however can cure alot of things. I would rather the game be perfectly workable without having to rely on houserules, however. Not that houserules are bad- but we shouldn't have to rely on rule 0 to solve every problem.

And it's not entirely that "front loaded" is bad, either. A class can give alot of features over the life of the class while giving one or two very useful ones at lower levels. Take HiPS for example, with a scout/rogue prestige class. A useful ability, but without a rule of this kind you'd have to bury it in the class to keep it from being dippable. With the rule however you could give it out sooner- when it'll be most useful- and still add interesting things later.

I don't mean it as a way to give 1 level of useful stuff and 4-9 levels of crap. Rather, since most campaigns are ending prior to 14th or so level (so it seems from folks on the boards), that we could create some sort of rule allowing that they can build prestige classes that aren't so back loaded as to never be used, or only be used in near-epic campaigns.

Anyway- it was just an idea.

-S


Selgard wrote:


Good DM's however can cure alot of things. I would rather the game be perfectly workable without having to rely on houserules, however. Not that houserules are bad- but we shouldn't have to rely on rule 0 to solve every problem.

Not every problem, no, but problems that aren't problems in the system, but rather problems with players abusing it - those should be handled by a live GM, so the standard rules don't become too restrictive.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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