Banning classes in house rules


Homebrew and House Rules

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Silver Crusade

In a topic on the oracle, this community expressed a lot of criticism of the shaman class. Now I wonder. Do you people have a 'banned class list' for your games? Would you recommend to do so? And if yes, which classes or archetypes would you ban?

Currently, in our games, we ban the following:

- Synthesyst Summoner (too obviously broken)
- Gunslinger, except for the 'Bolt Ace' Archetype (no gunpowder in the campaign)

But perhaps a more expansive list would enhance our experience? I would, of course, be most interested in why a class should be banned.


I would not say "obviously" since the core summoner is likely to out perform it.

I don't think any class is worthy of an across the board ban so I would never recommend it as a general solution. I might do it based on that specific group, and campaign. It just depends on the group. Not every option is PF is good for every table. I dont care for the master summoner because if the player keeps pulling summons his turn can take forever. They also can overrun AP's as written, due to action economy, but for a game where a GM has time to adjust to the party, and the player is not taking forever on his turn, they are not so bad.

Silver Crusade

You're right. I need a little more explanation on my synthesist ban.

When playing a MAD character, an easy solution is to take one level in Synthesist. All phisical skills can be brought low, to save points for the mental ones.

This, of course, would make the character weak when sleeping and very strong when having 10 minutes in preparation. But a balance where a character is 'all or nothing' like that is not really my cup of tea. Hence the ban.

Also, the Aegis (Ultimate Psionics, Dreamscarred Press) presents a more elegant solution for anyone who likes the synthesist's concept.


I've never had a problem with summoners in my groups. Gunslinger depends; I'm not a fan in general and prefer to run fantasy oriented campaigns. As such they tend to be banned or re-flavored heavily. I houserule that they target normal AC instead of touch -- to date that seems an adequate balance.


In general I dislike banning classes, as it is often done because of single builds that were too strong or because of mistakes in understanding class mechanics.

Despite that I have a short ban-list:
- Classic summoner (Definitely Master summoner and synthesist. I could see allowing other archetypes with either summon SLA OR eidolon not both and a fixed spell list. )


I only ban classes when it wouldn't fit the setting or situation, but with reflavouring and archetypes even that is rarely an issue.

Viondar wrote:
Also, the Aegis (Ultimate Psionics, Dreamscarred Press) presents a more elegant solution for anyone who likes the synthesist's concept.

Only if you're weapon based. Aegis can't exactly be very good natural weapon users....

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I don't have a banned list, but I do have reservations about newer players playing more complicated options like the summoner, gunslinger, swashbuckler, and the like.

Silver Crusade

Milo v3 wrote:

I only ban classes when it wouldn't fit the setting or situation, but with reflavouring and archetypes even that is rarely an issue.

Viondar wrote:
Also, the Aegis (Ultimate Psionics, Dreamscarred Press) presents a more elegant solution for anyone who likes the synthesist's concept.
Only if you're weapon based. Aegis can't exactly be very good natural weapon users....

To this I politely disagree. It just needs some work.

Going Soulknife (feral heart) + Aegis, Using the Fighter's Blade and Student of the Astral Suit feats, then continuing in the Metaforge prestige class. You'll make an awesome Aegis with natural weapons ;)

So... Up until now:
A lot of criticism on classes, but no actual bans?


Viondar wrote:

To this I politely disagree. It just needs some work.

Going Soulknife (feral heart) + Aegis, Using the Fighter's Blade and Student of the Astral Suit feats, then continuing in the Metaforge prestige class. You'll make an awesome Aegis with natural weapons ;)

So you can make a natural attack user aegis... but using a different class.... Yeah, doesn't help the point.

Quote:
A lot of criticism on classes, but no actual bans?

I have bans, but it's very... specific and generally has to have exceptions. Like, in my prehistoric setting you can't play a wizard or arcanist because there is no writing... unless you use an archetype that replaces your spellbook.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If i don't own it, you can't play it. ;)

For what it's worth, i have more options owned then any other player in my group.


The aberrant archetype for the aegis can get lots of natural attacks so I think it should work well.


Just a Guess wrote:
The aberrant archetype for the aegis can get lots of natural attacks so I think it should work well.

Aberrant can't even get claws.... It gets like... tentacles.


Have never seen a gunslinger in play, interesting that some people ban them...

Summoner isn't allowed at our table, I banned it cause I hate having tons of critters on the table, as well as the synthesist thing...

Other GMs just followed my lead.

Contemplated removing Wizard/Sorcerer before, simply because of power imbalance compared to Fighters etc... but haven't. I mean, we would have to take out all the full casters really...

My group builds balanced parties, so we don't get showboating Wizards dominating the game, or PvP...

But Summoners are out.


Milo v3 wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:
The aberrant archetype for the aegis can get lots of natural attacks so I think it should work well.
Aberrant can't even get claws.... It gets like... tentacles.

Yes, up to 4 of them, if I remember right. And a stinger

With those, reach and increased size you should do fine. More so if you use the natural attacks in combination with other weapons with multiattack.


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Gunslinger is only "banned" because none of my campaigns have guns. We have run a Gunslinger character, however, who used a hand-crossbow in place of a gun, and it worked fine.

The only other class we don't use is Bard. Neither myself nor most of my players have ever been able to suspend our disbelief to envisage Sir Robin's Minstrels hopping along and playing during the middle of a fight - it just seems...off.


Daring Champion Cavalier is flat banned in my games. Blade Adept Arcanist in Gestalt Games.

Did they officially rule about the Bab thing and Synthesists? Oh well. House rules. Whatever. Synthesists isn't too bad, but I see where you're coming from. Maybe I'd ban dips unless I clear their build they're going for first? There can be a lot of cheese and op in dips, especially little odd ones like that.

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I don't ban classes. I only run games for friends I trust. Even overpowered or potentially broken content can work fine if you got a player you can trust won't abuse it. Heck, one of my GMs let me play a four-armed magus and another let me play a race and class that I designed.

Silver Crusade

Hahaha @ Daronil,

Perhaps you shpould envision other bards.
Mongolian Throat singers during a cavalry charge
English drummers during musketman charges
The guitar player and drummers in Mad Max: Fury Road
Or simply war drums or war trumpets of any kind, or even a shouting/singing figure in the middle of combat.

I don't know if you've ever been in any combat or combat simulation, but anything familiar to focus on in such chaotic surroundings is a real boon. It keeps morale high to know battle is still going well enough that your side's sound dominates the battleground ;)

@ Milo v3
Alright, a synthesist can go for natural weapons and an Aegis needs work to have it. However, with my example, The Aegis wouldn't lose a single effective class level for their suit, and still be focussed on natural attacks.
So if you want it, you can have it without any real loss. Some concepts simply need work. And this option is still better than having a synthesist, in my opinion.

But still no bans?

I find it so interesting that classes here are criticised so harshly, but none are banned. The classes are bad, appearantly, but players can take 'm anyway?


I'll ban if it doesn't fit the setting.

For example (one I use fairly regularly in these sorts of threads) I had a campaign where all magic came of two flavors: Academics (wizard, witch, magus, alchemist, investigator) or Oracle (weird with "you-aren't-doing-it-right" curses due to method of access). Thus in such a world you couldn't be a summoner, cleric, or sorcerer because those simply didn't exist (no gods for one).

Usually what I try for in a campaign is 11 classes available, 7 races available. That way there are options without leaving things too open.

Setting tends to dictate what those 11 classes and races are.


I have occacionally banned certain classes from specific games. The only class I straight-up ban is the Summoner, because it's such a mess ruleswise and I simply don't have the energy to deal with it as a GM. I've also had a short campaign where I banned all full casters + gunslinger, and one where I banned all divine classes (using only the spell-less ranger).


Daronil wrote:

Gunslinger is only "banned" because none of my campaigns have guns. We have run a Gunslinger character, however, who used a hand-crossbow in place of a gun, and it worked fine.

The only other class we don't use is Bard. Neither myself nor most of my players have ever been able to suspend our disbelief to envisage Sir Robin's Minstrels hopping along and playing during the middle of a fight - it just seems...off.

And what about a right proper Scottish Bagpiper? You play your little tune, then throw the pipes over your shoulder, the drummer boy catches them and it's off to battle with your basket-hilted broadsword.


We have four GMs in our group and so far we have never used any other classes outside the Core ones in any campaign. Not banned as such but we operate on an "if it's not in the Core then you have to ok it first" basis.

We use most spells, pretty much all of the UE and various non-Core races but no one has ever asked to play any of the Classes or Feats (so far!).

We have at least 2 copies of the APG in the group and we all have access to the PRD so...


Banned the monk in my current campaign, but that was only because it was the one core class that was inappropriate to the setting. Reliable access to manufactured weapons and armour was integral to the civilised races' claim to cultural superiority over things like orcs and ogres. Setting aside armour and weapons in the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment would be seen as vulgar and primitive.

Would definitely either ban summoners or limit them to the magus spell list - the Summoner spell list, which not only lets them cast a 9th-level spell (Dominate Monster) but cast it at 16th level, before even wizards get their hands on it, is a mess.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll join the crowd in admitting that I ban summoners (eidelons more powerful than some PCs at the table, screwy spell list are just the beginning)

Also ban gunslingers, cause I don't like guns in my fantasy.

Also ban witches, in part because of the cheese that is the slumber hex, but also because I just don't think they should be adventurers.

All but one of my players want to play martial characters with big swords and axes, so no one disgruntled there. Why nobody wants to be a wizard is beyind me, but hey.


In my current game, I banned fighters, rogues, monks, wizards, witches, clerics, sorcerers, shamans, druids, oracles, arcanists...essentially all 9th level casters and the weaker martial classes. It's produced the sort of team I wanted to play with, a warlord (dreamscarred press), an unchained rogue, a swashbuckler, a magus and an inquisitor.

I banned fighters since I plan to hand out archetype and fighter abilities to players during gameplay and regularly have handed out free feats. Rogues and monks were banned for being slightly under the curve of where I wanted everyone to be both in and out of combat. 9th level casters were banned because of the sheer uncontrollable level of magic they can utilize earlier than any sixth level caster.


Wheldrake wrote:


All but one of my players want to play martial characters with big swords and axes, so no one disgruntled there.

I want to play it, too. And I often build non magic chars until I think about how it will play out at higher levels and go back to hybrid casters who can swing the big weapon but have spells to back it up.

Sure, I could start the came with a martial and reroll when he stops being fun...


Note: This idea assumes use of the Spheres of Power system exclusively.

In my planning I've decided to ban everything without built-in casting at level 1.

Which, if you think about it, leaves a loophole: if you can get someone to balance you a Fighter with a caster progression you can play a Fighter.

The intent is to have a world where everyone is a definite caster. If I was running a standard "knights & fairies" setting I would certainly allow non-caster Fighters and such (still have to use Spheres of Power, just to be clear...).


1) Summoners - Slows down game
2) Gunslinger - No gunpowder
3) ACG Classes - I have the book, but I am not comfortable enough with the new rules that go with them (nothing wrong with the rules, just haven't had time to read through the rules and play with them myself).

I am running a game for players that have lots of 3.5 and 4e experience, but this is thier 1st PF game, so I am sticking to the rules I know to let combat go smoothly.


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With a few exceptions, my ban list will vary from game to game based on the setting.

Paladins are always out, because alignment is not a big thing in any of my games, and they invariably cause more problems than they solve.

I've run games with no divine magic, so obvious bans there.
I've run games where all magic is spontaneous.
Done games with and without gunslingers/firearms.
Probably more I can't think of off the top of my head.


DMRaven wrote:

In my current game, I banned fighters, rogues, monks, wizards, witches, clerics, sorcerers, shamans, druids, oracles, arcanists...essentially all 9th level casters and the weaker martial classes. It's produced the sort of team I wanted to play with, a warlord (dreamscarred press), an unchained rogue, a swashbuckler, a magus and an inquisitor.

I banned fighters since I plan to hand out archetype and fighter abilities to players during gameplay and regularly have handed out free feats. Rogues and monks were banned for being slightly under the curve of where I wanted everyone to be both in and out of combat. 9th level casters were banned because of the sheer uncontrollable level of magic they can utilize earlier than any sixth level caster.

That is an interesting list.

I would play Hunter, I think they are just neat-o.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I don't ban any classes directly, although because I am a newby GM and play with my kids, I encourage them to wait on the more complicated classes. I do, however, require good alignment, which I believe forbids the antipaladin.

Liberty's Edge

Summoners of any kind, but that's only because I was running The Harrowing as a one-shot and couldn't be bothered to write "Cory," "Cory's Eidolon," "Damien," "Damien's Eidolon," "Booke," "Booke's Eidolon," "Mike," "Ziggy," and "Ziggy's Eidolon" on the notebook paper I use to track initiatives in combat.

I used to ban gunslingers because the part of our group's world I maintain has not-Warring-States-era Japan, and I found out a couple years later that samurai did in fact have really crappy arquebuses. So not anymore. (Though you do get the stink-eye for using them in Seigyoku.)


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Whenever I start a new game, I usually categorize classes in the following categories :

  • Recommended Classes : classes with a built-in theme in phase with the setting.
  • Authorized Classes : generic classes, or easily refluffable.
  • Not Recommended Classes : classes with a built-in theme that clashes with the setting and that are difficult to refluff. If a player choose one of these, I require a solid background to authorize the character.
  • See-Your-DM Classes : classes I may authorize on a case by case basis. Pretty much all 3PP classes starts here. If the player want to play one, he has to ask me before even starting to make the character. It allows me to review the class before okaying it. Also contains classes with mechanical issues, mainly mechanical weakness (non-unchained rogue); if a player ask me for one of those, I try to reroute him on a better option.
  • Not Authorized Classes : Classes that are totally against the setting (fullcaster in a low-magic game; gunslinger in a early dark-age game...), or classes that failed to pass the See-Your-DM check.
That way, the players know what they are going into. If they aren't really savvy about PF, they usually stick to the recommended classes. If they have better knowledge of the system and know what they want to play, they usually can. The only classes I keep on the Not Authorized list are a few WTF 3PP/Homebrew some players have proposed.

Scarab Sages

I have yet to ban a class from one of my games (of course, I've never had a summoner PC yet), although my groups tend towards the large side (current game has 8 PCs) and my combats tend to be large messy affairs with tons of mooks where everybody has SOMETHING to do at all times, so nobody gets upstaged, really.

I do have a sort of soft understanding with my players that the further a PC's race/class combination strays from my campaign world's "normal" low fantasy setting, the stranger and more complicated the character's life will get.

Example: Spellcasters of all sorts tend to accrue more headaches in my games due to the fact that their activities invariably attract the attention of other powerful spellcasters and weird gods, but those complications also help drive the story forward, so it's all good. They all tend to get a little mad/paranoid after a while, though - which is how I like it.

Not sure exactly how I'd handle a summoner, but the relationship between summoner and Eidolon has a lot of roleplay potential and I'm sure I could have the summoner questioning his sanity before long.


I am going to come out on the side of banning classes in specific cases. Here are the reasons that I have restricted/banned classes in the past.

Setting. If the GM is going through the work of making a unique world then it is reasonable for players to make characters that fit in that world. I see this as a central conceit of the system akin to it being reasonable for the GM to expect players to join a party and work together or at least not actively fight each other.

Newbies. Choosing between sorcerer, wizard, arcanist, and all their varying archetypes can be very confusing and when teaching the game to folks it is reasonable to restrict classes like the beginners box does.

Power. Now cross-character balance is very difficult to achieve but there are certain classes I ban not because they are too strong but because they are too weak. I have had players play rogue in the past and its limited combat prowess has limited their fun (which is of course the point of the game) so I don't allow rogues anymore and instead direct characters to slayer or bard for a rogue type character. I think that banning classes that you as a GM think are too powerful is reasonable.

Homebrew. A big one for me as I like tinkering with the rules and when I make a major change to the mechanics I don't want to determine how that mechanic interacts with every single class ability in every archetype. For the most part players don't care about the homebrew rules I do this because I enjoy it.

Like most things in the game the GM can do whatever they want as long as everyone is still having fun.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I ban summoner because it 1) is convoluted, 2) takes up waaay too much table time, and 3) it overshadows all other 6th level casters. Our table's experience with the class has been overwhelmingly negative.

I ban ninjas because they should not be a class, but an archetype. Ninja talents are able to be taken in a rogue talent slot. NT's that require Ki get times per day house rule. Additionally banned in my non-Golarion CS because there is no far east thematics on that world.

I ban samurai because they should not be a class, but an archetype. Additionally banned in my non-Golarion CS because there is no far east thematics on that world.

I have changed the mechanics of Gunslinger because RTA's all day for amazing dice is inconsistent with the rest of the game design. They were banned for a long time until one of my former players and I worked through most of the RTA kinks and various iterations of house rules and gun rules. Guns, in a setting with them, now run on "Guns Everywhere" Era and loading times have been hard coded per weapon capacity to prevent GS's from doing excessive TWF shooties.


I dont' see any reason to ban the whole Shaman class. They have one Hex that can get out of hand with the right build. Just ban that Hex, if it bothers you.


Daronil wrote:

Gunslinger is only "banned" because none of my campaigns have guns. We have run a Gunslinger character, however, who used a hand-crossbow in place of a gun, and it worked fine.

The only other class we don't use is Bard. Neither myself nor most of my players have ever been able to suspend our disbelief to envisage Sir Robin's Minstrels hopping along and playing during the middle of a fight - it just seems...off.

Yet again ... You can play a bard one through twenty without playing or singing a single note of music ...


I may only allow certain classes to be available for a given themed game, but I don't officially ban anything. There are also some classes that nobody ever plays at our table including bard, summoner, and gunslinger, but not because they are banned, rather nobody chooses to play them. While I can agree to the sentiment that the gunslinger doesn't belong in my typical fantasy games, since I usually play in settings that is more dark ages or older themes, not feudal nor renaissance (too modern for our tastes).

That said, I'm currently working on an Old West Pathfinder setting intended for publication called Gothic Western, and in it the gunsliner will truly belong, and most classes will gain archetypes skilled at using firearms. If the theme fits use it, if it doesn't then don't.

There's never been a reason, at our table, to banning anything - its simply unnecessary.


I don't have an auto-ban list but I will ban for flavor. No divine magic for example in a world of dead gods. I know reflavoring happens but it makes an impact and changes setting assumptions when an entire type of classes are banned.


Used to ban summoner before unchained came out. Now I allow that version, though, still no synergist or master summoner archetypes (mostly for my ease admittedly). Rogue has also been replaced by unchained rogue, monk with unchained monk (archetypes allowed simply by request), and unchained barbarian version of rage is an option but doesn't have to be taken.

Otherwise, for my homebrew world paladin isn't currently allowed till I can retool it to work without alignments better. Additionally, since it uses spheres of power, I replaced cleric, wizard, and sorcerer with the incanter class which I find a lot more customizable and better executed.

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archmagi1 wrote:

I ban ninjas because they should not be a class, but an archetype. Ninja talents are able to be taken in a rogue talent slot. NT's that require Ki get times per day house rule. Additionally banned in my non-Golarion CS because there is no far east thematics on that world.

I ban samurai because they should not be a class, but an archetype. Additionally banned in my non-Golarion CS because there is no far east thematics on that world.

That's why they're alternate classes, which are basically like super archetypes. You can even use rogue archetypes on the ninja.


It appears that the alternate classes were an experimental addition around the same time as archetypes were experimental. They tried to do the same thing, but in different ways. It's a bit like VHS vs Betamax.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

In the last campaign, I banned the Summoner, because I was new enough DMing and the folks I was playing with had problems with the class before.

I would probably be inclined to allow the unchained/normal Summoner, but only with the unchained spell list and pounce rules.

I disallow evil alignments, so I suppose Antipaladin is out.

Others classes would be limited based on the setting. Gunslingers are allowed, but only to certain races or characters with a specific background. Guns are common tech in my setting for ratfolk, kobolds, and dwarves, but almost unheard of for, say elves.

Otherwise everything Paizo is okay. 3pp is limited to stuff I have read and approved. Right now that is Psionics with some flavor resetting, although I hope to expand that to some of the Kobold Press classes and possibly some others.


Milo v3 wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:
The aberrant archetype for the aegis can get lots of natural attacks so I think it should work well.
Aberrant can't even get claws.... It gets like... tentacles.

...So?

Go Unarmed Strikes and then have 4 tentacles and a Sting on top. Grab TWfing too. Unarmed Strike/Unarmed Strike/Unarmed Strike/Tentacle/Tentacle/Tentacle/Tentacle/Stinger (and potentially Claw/Claw/Bite on top...) ain't exactly a bad attack sequence.

Most classes need a race with natural Attacks to use them anyway. Be a SKinwalker or Tiefling or what have you and go to town on it.

Or, as suggested above, multiclass with Feral Heart. You can even just get away with a 1 level dip into it for claws.

You can make a natural attacking Aegis in a ton of different ways.


I banned systems, but if you can play a class without that system, you can use the class. Specifically, I banned arcane and divine magic. Most arcane and divine casters can use sphere casting from Spheres of Power though, so they remain playable.


<@><@>

Liberty's Edge

Adam B. 135 wrote:
I banned systems, but if you can play a class without that system, you can use the class. Specifically, I banned arcane and divine magic. Most arcane and divine casters can use sphere casting from Spheres of Power though, so they remain playable.

Hmm that sounds interesting actually...

I actually found myself more inclined to not allow spells or limit spells.

Classes are easy most of the time to accommodate for, its when they start multi classing and multi-archetyping... like the character has 2 classes and 3 or 4 archetypes...

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I banned Paladins in an evil game. Didn't want that sort of drama "enriching" the game.


I ban Gunslingers, and have so far banned Ninjas and Samurai, simply because there's so far been no setting in my homebrew for them to hail from. I'm toying with an idea of letting them be made available, though, as the players in my game are finally exploring beyond their comfort zone and I may let them come from a Hobgoblin culture. (I run a houseruled version of Hobgoblins that differs a bit from the PF version).

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