Most common mistakes you see in prestige class design


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

1 to 50 of 85 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Reading the forums these days I wandered how different everyone thinks about what is a poorly designed prestige class and what is not. So, in your opinion what is the most common mistakes you see when you read a book with new prestige classes?

To me, the most common mistakes are:

1 - Creating a monk prestige class that doesn't increase unarmed strikes. It ends up making you attack with a weapon better than attacking with your unarmed strikes, and since your stun attack DC is not increasing the new prestige class is not really adding abilities to your class, its more like swapping abilities (you are losing everything you got related to your unarmed strike since you are not using it anymore and getting what ever the prestige class is offering you instead), that would not be so bad if the prestige class was based on the fact that it isn't adding new abilities it is swapping new abilities with the old ones.

2 - Spell caster prestige classes without some of its +1 existing spell level. Its not always a mistake but its very hard to balance because whatever ability you are getting instead must be better or equal than what a new spell would offer you in all the levels you will go thought after that: not getting a +1 existing spell level with a wizard at lvl 7 means you just lost 2 level 4 spells and 1 caster level, when you got to level 9 its value changed, that spell level took of 2 level 5 spells now, usually abilities don't increase with level so in time the new abilities you got are not going to be worth the spell levels you lost to get then.

3 - Bard without Bardic Performance. Its just like with the monk, in time your old bardic performance will not be worth your standard action (At least most of then), so in the end you are swapping abilities and most of the time the prestige class is not balanced around swapping.

4 - Removing rogue sneak attack and giving him role playing abilities instead. People love to completely remove rogue sneak attack and instead giving him role playing abilities, its not actually wrong but they do it way too often so in the end, if you are looking for a prestige class that change your rogue flavor without reducing it's combat skill, you will have a hard time looking.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I was over joyed to find that the Arcane archer and Dragon disciple were finally given arcane progression.


Great title. Thanks for not saying "broken".

I tend to think the strongest prestige classes are those focused on the ROLE the class is meant to play rather than the abilities they have ... but I tend to be more old school.

Dark Archive

The majority (approx) 80-90% require a double class Character.

I would appreciate more prestige classes that can be taken with a single class character (even if that means at a later xp-level)


pontoark wrote:
2 - Spell caster prestige classes without some of its +1 existing spell level. Its not always a mistake but its very hard to balance because whatever ability you are getting instead must be better or equal than what a new spell would offer you in all the levels you will go thought after that: not getting a +1 existing spell level with a wizard at lvl 7 means you just lost 2 level 4 spells and 1 caster level, when you got to level 9 its value changed, that spell level took of 2 level 5 spells now, usually abilities don't increase with level so in time the new abilities you got are not going to be worth the spell levels you lost to get then.

In Pathfinder, you actually lose some class abilities by going into a PrC but in 3.5 you rarely lost anything worth noting. So in that respect, I felt that most PrCs should've been missing one or more of these in order to balance what you were getting. The caster level(s) could be made up with the Practiced Spellcaster feat.


pontoark wrote:

Reading the forums these days I wandered how different everyone thinks about what is a poorly designed prestige class and what is not. So, in your opinion what is the most common mistakes you see when you read a book with new prestige classes?

To me, the most common mistakes are:

1 - Creating a monk prestige class that doesn't increase unarmed strikes. It ends up making you attack with a weapon better than attacking with your unarmed strikes, and since your stun attack DC is not increasing the new prestige class is not really adding abilities to your class, its more like swapping abilities (you are losing everything you got related to your unarmed strike since you are not using it anymore and getting what ever the prestige class is offering you instead), that would not be so bad if the prestige class was based on the fact that it isn't adding new abilities it is swapping new abilities with the old ones.

Incorrect, Stunning fist is based off of Character level not class level. Unarmed strike still does it's normal damage for whatever level you got to, and you get the power attack full with each attack (since unarmed strike counts as "one" natural weapon, instead of several).

pontoark wrote:


3 - Bard without Bardic Performance. Its just like with the monk, in time your old bardic performance will not be worth your standard action (At least most of then), so in the end you are swapping abilities and most of the time the prestige class is not balanced around swapping.

Bardic performance even if not increased is still one of the only buffs available that offers a competence bonus, gets all your allies without limit, and gives a damage boost, and it only takes a standard action to start, it is a free action to continue it's use. Which means if you are willing to cast 'bless' or 'prayer' then inspire courage is just as good (actually better, and stacks since bless and prayer are both morale).

pontoark wrote:


4 - Removing rogue sneak attack and giving him role playing abilities instead. People love to completely remove rogue sneak attack and instead giving him role playing abilities, its not actually wrong but they do it way too often so in the end, if you are looking for a prestige class that change your rogue flavor without reducing it's combat skill, you will have a hard time looking.

Depending on the class it might not even be for 'rogues'. The rogue class maybe an easy way into whatever prestige class you are looking at, but unless it actually has a requirement of "sneak attack +'x'd6" then it is not a rogue only class. Examples of what some people would call "rogue" PrC's that are not include duelist, shadow dancer, and chronicler. These classes can do great things for the rogue, and can offer him other means of getting where he can make sneak attacks, but the sneak attack is not the only focus of the rogue (indeed it should never be considered as the 'only' feature of the rogue worthwhile or of note).

The biggest mistake I see in people developing prestige classes, are:

1. Entry requirements are too restrictive.
2. Too much power
3. Abilities that are overly complicated.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Good topic.

The most common mistake I see in prestige class design: creating a new prestige class for a character concept that could also be accomplished by creating three or four new feats.

Scarab Sages

The common mistake is thinking that prestige classes are broken. What I see instead are prestige classes need to be challenged in a completely different matter than core classes.

And I agree with Meepo, as well. A new feat or four and you've got a prestige class. Hell, even just a new combination of standard feats that no one has thought of yet and you're good to go.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

PC gives out enhancement, inherent, deflection, or other non-stacking bonuses which will eventually be subsumed by equipment.

As with several others, this isn't a deal-breaker, but I think it's a mistake that people make without realizing they're making it.

This kind of ties in with the +1 caster level thing: Ultimately, I think many designers could use a stronger grasp of the difference between "scaling" and "non-scaling" bonuses (and penalties). Ask yourself, "At level 20, will this power still be there?"

Something I find to be an inexcusable offense 99% of the time is granting bonus feats which any character who cares about the class's theme would (or should) have taken anyway. Not only is this a lame (uncreative) benefit, but it actually punishes characters who were building towards that theme already before they knew about the PrC.

Certain exceptions apply (for instance, ninja classes that hand out exotic weapon proficiencies like candy- that's kind of cool).


Hydro wrote:


Something I find to be an inexcusable offense 99% of the time is granting bonus feats which any character who cares about the class's theme would (or should) have taken anyway. Not only is this a lame (uncreative) benefit, but it actually punishes characters who were building towards that theme already before they knew about the PrC.

Certain exceptions apply (for instance, ninja classes that hand out exotic weapon proficiencies like candy- that's kind of cool).

The only time that is a mistake, is when it's presumed that the PC gets screwed by already having the feat. Hence why its so beautiful when you see the prestige classes that state if you already have the feat you gain any other feat you qualify for in it's place.

(Note: If that kind of PrC feature bugs you as much as it does me, houserule the above to count in every case a specific bonus feat is granted.)


Worse than the feat thing is when a PrC gives you an ability that you already have. I understand that the few non-rogues that enter X PrC will love getting evasion but it does absolutely nothing for the other 95% that are rogues who go into it. There should be a rule that you get a free feat or something.


Frogboy wrote:
Worse than the feat thing is when a PrC gives you an ability that you already have. I understand that the few non-rogues that enter X PrC will love getting evasion but it does absolutely nothing for the other 95% that are rogues who go into it. There should be a rule that you get a free feat or something.

Actually, this was handled well with the master thrower prestige class. It got Evasion, and there was a little sub-text that clarified that if you already had Evasion you got improved Evasion instead.

Liberty's Edge

Epic Meepo wrote:

Good topic.

The most common mistake I see in prestige class design: creating a new prestige class for a character concept that could also be accomplished by creating three or four new feats.

+1

Liberty's Edge

kyrt-ryder wrote:


Actually, this was handled well with the master thrower prestige class. It got Evasion, and there was a little sub-text that clarified that if you already had Evasion you got improved Evasion instead.

I thought this was the case in general...

Meh, if not then its probably the oldest houserule still not on our "official houserules" books.


Studpuffin wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:


Actually, this was handled well with the master thrower prestige class. It got Evasion, and there was a little sub-text that clarified that if you already had Evasion you got improved Evasion instead.

I thought this was the case in general...

Meh, if not then its probably the oldest houserule still not on our "official houserules" books.

Regretably, it's not the case by the RAW, though it's an easy assumption to make, and it's something alot of people (myself included) seem to houserule in.


Their very design from their inception.

Let's use the navy for an example. A PC sailor (would probably be a fighter. Yes, there are plenty of tech {expert} jobs, but I'm talking PC not NPC) distinguishes herself in combat and is asked to join the prestigious ranks of the Navy SEALs. All the combat training that the sailor received in boot camp and on board ships is going to be honed. She'll actually get better at what she was previously given only rudimentary training in and at an accelerated rate. After SEAL training she's MORE accurate with MORE weapons and BETTER trained in the use of technology than if she had simply continued to advance as a regular sailor.

But according to D&D prestige classes, she'd have to actually slow down her progression in her regular class rather than speed up. For instance, if she were a fighter taking a prestige class, she'd lose out on those bonus feats as she advanced in Knight of Pretty Stabbing (or whatever). The sacrifice for spell casters was even stranger and only ever made even a little since to me for an epic level character (who's spells/day have stopped increasing).

I always create a tough challenge for PCs to gain a prestige class. The "requirements" are the minimums for admission, they in no way guarantee acceptance. In fact, in my game, if you apply when all you've got is the minimum, you're going to fail more than two-thirds of the time.

However, if you succeed, you gain the PrC benefits in addition to your regular class benefits. 'Course, you can only get one prestige class per character.

But, hey, that's just my two coppers.


Abraham spalding wrote:


Incorrect, Stunning fist is based off of Character level not class level. Unarmed strike still does it's normal damage... and you get the power attack full with each attack...

Ok, let me put it in another way, I think that any monk prestige class is poorly designed if it pushes you not to use your unarmed strikes by not increasing it. I rather not put any math as an example because it would end up bringing too many details and it would still be somehow subjective, so just consider it a not scientific test and fell experience.

You are right about the character level and not class level stuff and I think I need to drink less coffee or something.

Abraham spalding wrote:


Bardic performance even if not increased is still one of the only buffs available that offers a competence bonus, gets all your allies without limit, and gives a damage boost, and it only takes a standard action to start, it is a free action to continue it's use. Which means if you are willing to cast 'bless' or 'prayer' then inspire courage is just as good (actually better, and stacks since bless and prayer are both morale).

You could have just a +1 inspire courage (never reaching level 8th with your 3.5 bard) and be a level 14 bard for example, and besides there are other bardic performances too, like suggestion, or even the pathfinder Fascinate,

And yes, you could say there still are some useful ones, but I'm not really saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that you, in this case is swapping abilities and not just adding new ones, so it should be taken in account in the prestige class balance.


Epic Meepo wrote:
The most common mistake I see in prestige class design: creating a new prestige class for a character concept that could also be accomplished by creating three or four new feats.

-1

Feats are more scarce than class levels. It doesn't make sense to create a 'feat tree' to embody an idea that should be covered by a class.

Now, if the entire concept of the class can be done in one feat, then it's best as that single feat. But if you require two or more feats, it's better to flesh it out into a PrC instead.


I'm fine with powerful prestige classes as long as they are far more focused than the base class equivalent and/or achieve things that you couldn't do with base classes available.

Obvious mash-up classes that don't continue, even halfway, in the class feature progression of its components are aweful. 3.5 arcane archer was bad, 3.P arcane archer is amazing.

A focused class PrC like Incantatrix or Loremaster should restrict base abilities of wizard (no specialist/familiar progression) and have some steep prerequisites that require a specific build and no deviation to get into at mid levels.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

kyrt-ryder wrote:


The only time that is a mistake, is when it's presumed that the PC gets screwed by already having the feat. Hence why its so beautiful when you see the prestige classes that state if you already have the feat you gain any other feat you qualify for in it's place.

(Note: If that kind of PrC feature bugs you as much as it does me, houserule the above to count in every case a specific bonus feat is granted.)

Even then, most of the time I think that the feat should have been a prerequisite.

But you're right, it's ultimately something which is only done wrong when it's done wrong. This thread is really leaving me with the impression that there aren't many universal rules in game design.

Edit: Edited. ;)
If I open two replies and then post the first one, it goes to the second thread. Still haven't gotten used to that.

Dark Archive

Hydro wrote:
xorial wrote:
Hydro, I like this VERY much. This is more than I was actually looking for. Full of flavor. It will really see some use in my Eberron campaign. Great for Kalashtar & the Dreaming Dark. This would be really nasty with the Quori.
Glad you like it! You'll have to let me know how things go if it sees play. :)

/snicker....

As for my two cents...

I feel a prestige class is poorly thought out, when it allows a player to break a fundamental rule of the game. Example being the Ur Priest, who takes you from first level divine spells, all the way to ninth in ten levels.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

EJoThims wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
The most common mistake I see in prestige class design: creating a new prestige class for a character concept that could also be accomplished by creating three or four new feats.

-1

Feats are more scarce than class levels. It doesn't make sense to create a 'feat tree' to embody an idea that should be covered by a class.

Now, if the entire concept of the class can be done in one feat, then it's best as that single feat. But if you require two or more feats, it's better to flesh it out into a PrC instead.

I think this is a valid point of view. I don't share it exactly, but there's certainly something to be said for using a class even if feats would work.

I don't think either tool is innately more or less valid, it's quite situational.

For instance, if you want to have a "metamagic mastery" chain of powers, and you turn those into feats, then 'mastering metamagic' is going to prevent you from taking actual metamagic feats...


Hydro wrote:
For instance, if you want to have a "metamagic mastery" chain of powers, and you turn those into feats, then 'mastering metamagic' is going to prevent you from taking actual metamagic feats...

Exactly.

But this applies in all situations, not just metamagic.

Any time a character would have to sink a large portion of their feat investment into their character concept instead of into enhancing their character concept it would be handled better with a PrC (or even base class).

Swift Hunter and other similar one feat long multi-class oriented feats are an exception, since they are one single feat that enhances the mixed concept that already exists, and they scale that mix of abilities regardless of which class is progressed.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

EJoThims wrote:

Any time a character would have to sink a large portion of their feat investment into their character concept instead of into enhancing their character concept it would be handled better with a PrC (or even base class).

This I don't agree with. There are plenty of cases to be made in the opposite direction. Something that's about learning a new skill set (while still being a (whatever your previous class was)) should definitely be a feat or feat chain rather than a new class. As others have said, there are a lot of times when it doesn't make sense for a person pursuing a certain path to stop progressing their old abilities

Sure, you can say "The Twilight Stalker is still basically a ranger, so we'll advance his ranger spells and animal companion and give him new favored terrains and...", but the further you go in that direction the less it makes sense to have a separate class. You could just take those cool shadow-powers which were going to be the spice of the class and make them feats instead.

But, again, there are times when making a new class does make sense even if it advances powers from previous classes. Neither tool is always better, it just depends on the situation.


Too much given away too soon.

No roleplaying built into taking the class exception Assassin where you actually have to do something other than have a set of skills, etc.

No capstone to encourage play right through.(?)

No penalty for leaving the PrC again not encouraging play to completion.

Too many which could just be built by multiclassing in the core classes.

My percieved view that some haven't been playtested to the Nth degree.

Too many are just multiclassed Fighter/Wizards, Monk/Sorcerers, etc. by another name.

All this is just my opinion and experiance of the game. My group have very rarely taken PrC other than Dragon Disciple and Shadowdancer. Both of which I ran as being part of an organisation and had tasks (scenarios) to complete before joining.

Liberty's Edge

My biggest pet peeve with PrC's is BAB progression. 3/4 or 1/2 BAB classes and PrC's can leave many dead levels without an increase in BAB. This actually can make so call "prestige" characters slightly less competant than thier single class progression counterparts.

There are also class abilities that should just be watered down slightly and made into feats. Deep Pockets from Pathfinder Chronicler comes to mind. If you made the limit 25 gp/level, you would have a useful utility feat that wouldn't break the game.

Also, PrC's that are longer than they need to be. Why slog through 10 levels when there are only 5 levels of worthwhile abilities?


What's interesting about the concept of prestige classes is that many feel that they should be "prestigious". (Myself included.) However, the design concept from the core team (Monte Cook, Skip Williams and Jonathan Tweet) was that they would grant you new or different abilities from the core classes when you gave up something. Thus they don't have to be more powerful than a core class, but they work when they grant interesting abilities not allowed under core rules.

Example: Loremaster must take Skill Focus: Knowledge, a feat that few would consider, and three item creation feats - a specific build over 10 levels to get started. However, in exchange for that (and losing two wizard bonus feats), they get a raft of abilities that bolster the concept.

I think that the original 3.0 DMG list of Prestige Classes was a good set of examples. Shadowdancer gives you an awesome invisibility-like power, arcane archer created a specialization with a touch of magic for ones ammunition, assassin and blackguard both filled classic enemy/villain roles (even if their execution wasn't perfect under certain circumstances), and dwarven defender increased defenses for the dwarf who wanted to hold the line (an awesome fantasy moment under the right circumstances, except that PCs don't flee).

The most common mistakes (including the nice point about feats and the initial opinion) of prestige class design are, in my opinion:

1. creating a prestige class to respond to any concept that a player might want to create.
2. allowing early gain of abilities that fulfill other Prestige Class requirements - one of the reasons it's good to have a 5 or 10 level class that spreads out abilities is to avoid cherry picking
3. ending on a really weak power, ability or option (why not make it shorter at that point?)
4. responding to "book creep" with powerups to match the other abilities in recent splat books that themselves are not balanced back to the core rules


I also think that the word "Prestige" shouldn't be used.
It is implying better and no PrC should be better than a core class.


Spacelard wrote:

I also think that the word "Prestige" shouldn't be used.

It is implying better and no PrC should be better than a core class.

Should they be worse, then?


Zurai wrote:
Spacelard wrote:

I also think that the word "Prestige" shouldn't be used.

It is implying better and no PrC should be better than a core class.
Should they be worse, then?

Don't even start that.

If thats they way you wish to see it then go ahead.
You know exactly what I mean. The OP asked for an opinion and I gave it.
Stop looking for an argument.


It's an honest question.

You don't think any PrC should ever be better than a core class. That leaves either that they should be weaker or that they should be equal.

The problem with equal is that no one's ever been able to perfectly balance even a handful of classes, so if we're striving for all classes being equal we need to throw out most of the base classes, too.

The problem with weaker is that then no one will ever take a prestige class, and thus they're wasted development time and page space (and thus make the books more expensive for no benefit to the players).

Stronger can have its own problems, too, of course. I'm not saying otherwise. But IMO the problems with stronger are lesser and easier to deal with than the problems with equal or weaker.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Zurai wrote:
Spacelard wrote:

I also think that the word "Prestige" shouldn't be used.

It is implying better and no PrC should be better than a core class.
Should they be worse, then?

Uhh..

Zurai wrote:
It's an honest question.

No, I don't think so.

Most gamers want all classes to be equal. This is an ideal, but still a valid goal. And you knew that was what he meant.


Actually, I'd be very, very surprised if most gamers wanted all classes to be equal. But this is getting off-topic. I apologize for the temporary derail.


Hydro wrote:


Something I find to be an inexcusable offense 99% of the time is granting bonus feats which any character who cares about the class's theme would (or should) have taken anyway. Not only is this a lame (uncreative) benefit, but it actually punishes characters who were building towards that theme already before they knew about the PrC.

Certain exceptions apply (for instance, ninja classes that hand out exotic weapon proficiencies like candy- that's kind of cool).

Totally agree with the above point. Some of new classes and PrC are simply there because people can't wait and develop their character over time.

You will probably disagree with my next point but I think it explains my way of thinking. Take that ol' chestnut the Samurai. Now you could develop a new class or
Use a Katana two handed, wear a lamellar type armor (and not full plate), give myself a code of conduct and stick to it, take Calligraphy as a skill, use a naginata, pay yourself with rice, take no sh*t from commoners, etc. Roleplay it and bring it to life.

This is simplified but I hope it demonstates how I see things.


Hydro wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Spacelard wrote:

I also think that the word "Prestige" shouldn't be used.

It is implying better and no PrC should be better than a core class.
Should they be worse, then?

Uhh..

Zurai wrote:
It's an honest question.

No, I don't think so.

Most gamers want all classes to be equal. This is an ideal, but still a valid goal. And you knew that was what he meant.

All classes equal? Sounds like 4e, no thank you.

Prestige classes should be better, IMO, but in a very limited aspect. The Assassin is a prime example. It's a Rogue, but better at killing while less effective at other aspects of 'Rogue'.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Wolfthulhu wrote:


Prestige classes should be better, IMO, but in a very limited aspect.

I didn't say "the same", I said "equal". At the end of the day, playing an assassin should not be a better or worse choice than playing a rogue, just a different choice.

"Better (but at a very limited aspect)" is completely different from "better overall". In a well-designed prestige class (of that sort), being better at one thing counterbalances the fact that you are worse that the core class outside that thing (worse skills for instance), creating a class which is overall neither better nor worse.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Studpuffin wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:


Actually, this was handled well with the master thrower prestige class. It got Evasion, and there was a little sub-text that clarified that if you already had Evasion you got improved Evasion instead.

I thought this was the case in general...

Meh, if not then its probably the oldest houserule still not on our "official houserules" books.
Regretably, it's not the case by the RAW, though it's an easy assumption to make, and it's something alot of people (myself included) seem to houserule in.

We almost did this until we realized that certain combinations allowed you to get your second Evasion, thus Improved Evasion really early. In 3.0, you could get Improved Evasion at 3rd level by being a Monk/Rogue. It's still only 4th level now.

Personally, I'd rule that you either get a free bonus feat as long as the ability was on par or better than a feat or you still get Improved Evasion but have to wait until level 10, the minimum level you can get it, before it applies. Same deal for PrCs that give you Improved Unarmed Strike when you might already be a Monk or have it going in. I'm looking at you Reaping Mauler!


Wolfthulhu wrote:
Hydro wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Spacelard wrote:

I also think that the word "Prestige" shouldn't be used.

It is implying better and no PrC should be better than a core class.
Should they be worse, then?

Uhh..

Zurai wrote:
It's an honest question.

No, I don't think so.

Most gamers want all classes to be equal. This is an ideal, but still a valid goal. And you knew that was what he meant.

All classes equal? Sounds like 4e, no thank you.

Prestige classes should be better, IMO, but in a very limited aspect. The Assassin is a prime example. It's a Rogue, but better at killing while less effective at other aspects of 'Rogue'.

Yes it is balanced. I have no problem with the Assassin PrC.

What I would object to is it's a Rogue, but better at killing while as effective at other aspects of 'Rogue' and I think that is the problem with some PrC.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Frogboy wrote:
I'm looking at you Reaping Mauler!

I'm not familiar with that class.

However, if it improves your unarmed attacks in any way, then a monk/mauler is still probably going to be better than a fighter/mauler, even if the Improved Unarmed Strike feat is "wasted" on the monk.

(Now, "Should the fighter have taken IUS on his own time?" is another issue)


Xuttah wrote:
My biggest pet peeve with PrC's is BAB progression. 3/4 or 1/2 BAB classes and PrC's can leave many dead levels without an increase in BAB. This actually can make so call "prestige" characters slightly less competant than thier single class progression counterparts.

I had forgotten about this one and it's a huge one for me. Take 10 levels in two classes with the same BAB progression and you get a strange effect.

Low Single: +10
Low Double: +5/+5 = +10

Mid Single: +15
Mid Double: +7/+7 = +14

Full Single: +20
Full Double: +10/+10 = +20

Now this can be solved by calculating out the BABas +3/4 per level but of you play by RAW, you get the shaft for doing this. You fall behind quite a bit especially if you take a PrC at level 6...which leads me to my next point.

I hate is PrCs that you can start at level 6 but in order to do so, you have to go two levels without an increase in BAB (again, unless you use fractional BABs). That zero at the front of most PrCs is a big deterrent to anyone who swings a weapon.


Mykull has the right of it. Thinking that a particular niche needs a "prestige class" is the biggest mistake in their design. "Elite" or "Advanced" is what there should be, much like paladin used to be--tough to qualify for and rewarding to achieve.

Liberty's Edge

Frogboy wrote:


I hate is PrCs that you can start at level 6 but in order to do so, you have to go two levels without an increase in BAB (again, unless you use fractional BABs). That zero at the front of most PrCs is a big deterrent to anyone who swings a weapon.

Exactly! I think that you should just have a BAB equal to the class you have the most levels in. It keeps it simple.


Hydro wrote:
Frogboy wrote:
I'm looking at you Reaping Mauler!

I'm not familiar with that class.

However, if it improves your unarmed attacks in any way, then a monk/mauler is still probably going to be better than a fighter/mauler, even if the Improved Unarmed Strike feat is "wasted" on the monk.

(Now, "Should the fighter have taken IUS on his own time?" is another issue)

The Reaping Mauler is the brute strength grappling specialist. If you want to go this route, you should laready have this feat. I could be wrong about IAS though. It might be Improved Grapple that you get. Either way, it's something that you will always have unless you take this PrC spurr of the moment.


Frogboy wrote:
The Reaping Mauler is the brute strength grappling specialist. If you want to go this route, you should laready have this feat. I could be wrong about IAS though. It might be Improved Grapple that you get. Either way, it's something that you will always have unless you take this PrC spurr of the moment.

It's Improved Grapple. So either you have to be a lousy grappler for the first 5 or 6 levels of your character's career, or you waste a class feature.


Hydro wrote:
Wolfthulhu wrote:


Prestige classes should be better, IMO, but in a very limited aspect.

I didn't say "the same", I said "equal". At the end of the day, playing an assassin should not be a better or worse choice than playing a rogue, just a different choice.

"Better (but at a very limited aspect)" is completely different from "better overall". In a well-designed prestige class (of that sort), being better at one thing counterbalances the fact that you are worse that the core class outside that thing (worse skills for instance), creating a class which is overall neither better nor worse.

I think we agree then, I just misundersttod your post.


Mykull wrote:

A PC sailor (would probably be a fighter. Yes, there are plenty of tech {expert} jobs, but I'm talking PC not NPC) distinguishes herself in combat and is asked to join the prestigious ranks of the Navy SEALs. All the combat training that the sailor received in boot camp and on board ships is going to be honed. She'll actually get better at what she was previously given only rudimentary training in and at an accelerated rate. After SEAL training she's MORE accurate with MORE weapons and BETTER trained in the use of technology than if she had simply continued to advance as a regular sailor.

But according to D&D prestige classes, she'd have to actually slow down her progression in her regular class rather than speed up. For instance, if she were a fighter taking a prestige class, she'd lose out on those bonus feats as she advanced in Knight of Pretty Stabbing (or whatever).

Personally, I would disagree with your starting point: that the sailor is a fighter. I'd be more inclined to say he was a warrior, and that becoming a Navy SEAL makes him a fighter. Thus, he gets all the benefits of being a warrior (high Fort, HP, and BAB), plus he gets fighter feats. Seems to model what you're saying very well.

Liberty's Edge

hogarth wrote:
So either you have to be a lousy grappler for the first 5 or 6 levels of your character's career, or you waste a class feature.

That's another problem that some Prestige classes have. Duplicated Class Features are often a waste, or specific feats as class features (I don't mean bonus feats like the fighter gets, I mean set in stone ones). Many times you want to take the feat in your early levels in a base class, only to have to wait seven to ten levels to get it as part of the prestige class (at least in 3.5). That's a long time to wait in many cases and you get nothing for it if you already picked it. Wasted a feat, unless your GM is nice and lets you pick something new.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

One weakness I've noticed is when a PrC emulates a Base Class ability that scales with level. This can often lead to a really weak ability. For example, a PrC with a "Smite" ability that lets you add your class level to damage, is only giving you +1 damage at 6th level, when a 6th level paladin with a Smite is doing +6 damage.

I think PrCs should either let you make a character with a particular focus, or grant you abilities (or combinations of abilities) that a base class won't give you.

I also think there should be some kind of "cost" to qualify for a PrC, be it a less optimal feat choice or ranks in a cross-class skill or an initially sub-optimal multiclass combination.

I personally have no objections to cherry-picking PrCs, taking multiple PrCs, or anything like that. I really like to design new PrCs, but rarely take them myself. I once made a Frenzied Berserker, and I once made a Cloistered Cleric of Pelor that specialized in healing and turning undead, so the DM suggested the Shiny Champion of Pelor PrC, which exactly fit the concept of the character I had. I don't think I've ever had any other PrCs for any of my PCs.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

SmiloDan wrote:

One weakness I've noticed is when a PrC emulates a Base Class ability that scales with level. This can often lead to a really weak ability. For example, a PrC with a "Smite" ability that lets you add your class level to damage, is only giving you +1 damage at 6th level, when a 6th level paladin with a Smite is doing +6 damage.

I think that's a bad example of a good point. Smite is still worth using even at -5 level; in fact, it's still a pretty nice ability even at -5 level.

The real problem is something with an action cost, like channel energy, or a combat spell-like ability. This is a good way to make a power that simply isn't worth the standard action it takes to use it. Furthermore, it's going to stop scaling once you're done with the PrC.

Some prestige class powers (certainly not all, but some) should be based on character level instead of PrC level.

1 to 50 of 85 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Most common mistakes you see in prestige class design All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.