Class comparisons of assorted 3rd party and paizo classes.

Advice and Rules Questions

So I have players requesting to use some 3rd party classes, which in and of itself is not an issue, but in an effort to try to keep class bloat down I had a couple questions. One of my friends was thinking of using an Archon from Rogue Genius Games because he said it blended martial with arcane, of course I have another player saying they want to use Battle Scion from Kobold Press for the same reason, and I always thought the purpose of Magus was to do what those two classes are claiming to do. I was hoping maybe somebody who is particularly versed in 3rd party and paizo products might be able to give me an idea of what the differences are, how much they might step on each other's toes etc.

In the same nature is the following. I also have players wanting to play White Necromancer from Kobold Press and Death Mage from Rogue Genius Games. Once again I would appreciate help deciphering the differences etc so I can figure out if it is enough of a difference to justify two separate classes. Furthermore, if there is a Paizo equivalent that accomplishes the same thing those classes do since I am being told Necromancer is vastly different.

Much appreciated for any and all help I can get on this matter.

Rawrgle wrote:
class bloat

Just let them roll the characters, look at the sheets, have them explain all their powers can do and decide if it would break anything in your game.

In my experience, letting players play the class they want, as long as they don't stand out too much from other classes (rarely the case with most known compatible products), is key to having a fun session.

I don't really see "class bloat" as a thing - Paizo itself has, what 39 classes now? Hundreds if you count archetypes? How having more options can be a problem?

Sorry for not having a specific opinion on those classes, since I don't have the books - but they are available on d20:
Death Mage
White Necromancer
Battle Scion

And a couple of them were reviewed by Endzeitgeist already:
White Necromancer
Battle Scion

My party currently consists of an Onmyoji, a Marksman, a Tinker and a Daevic - all 3rd party compatible classes. We never had a problem with one class being stronger than others, they are all competent in different functions - and we've been through paizo modules and third party adventures, without a hitch.

You could replace all of them with Paizo classes, sure... but they wouldn't be the same characters, they just would have the same functions: tank, dps, healer, etc. Similar powers, but not the same mechanics, not the same feel.

But why would I lock my players out of having the experience they want to have? It's not like you have to memorize all the 3rd party classes out there, just the ones your players have interest in.

Okay first off, one of my players noticed your post and changed from archon to tinker. Unexpected but, whatever floats his boat I guess. Now where the concern of class bloat comes in, is I run more than one group and in each group I have at least one player concerned about it and how it could unbalance things, so I figured getting second opinions from experienced players outside my group couldn't harm the equation. Now part of this is admittedly a beast of my own making.

So my players in group 1 are running a campaign I made, which I have run successfully before to completion, but basically it requires multiple characters. Reason being, the story has a prophecy in it, and like many prophecies it is vague as hell. Subsequently you have different adventure groups spawning in different parts of the world, not only working toward that big goal convinced that they are the people in question, but still dealing with their regional problems etc etc. Only this group decided that for some of the groups they wanted to start using 3rd party stuff and such.

Then group 2 heard about the campaign and decided they wanted to run it. Only many of them had different ideas on 3rd party. So that is how all that came about. So then I made a spreadsheet with a list of the classes that are approved of thus far between both groups, studying up where I can so I can try to document differences etc, that way I can try to handle balance issues that may manifest. But again, got that couple of concerned players about said bloat so now I find myself second guessing myself on whether or not I am looking at things correctly etc etc and may in fact be in a bit of a tizzy.

I suppose the best option may very well be just proceed as you suggested, and let them roll as they please. Anywho thanks for your thoughts at the very least, suppose I can just see what happens. Reviews were helpful as well thanks.

Well to toss my 2 bits in, it can really vary by 3rd party publishers.

Tinker and other stuff from Interjection Games are among the most balanced content I've run into and all among my favourites. I always highly recommend it. You can add it without seeing many issues of bloat or trouble (assuming it is run correctly and as the rules intend), he is truly talented at keeping his classes fun but balanced.

With that said, Tinker is by far one of the most complex classes released by him. If this is a new player I'd really recommend another class instead. It has a lot of fiddly little pieces to keep track of and can be a lot of bookkeeping.

*edit* For anything you aren't sure on, check Endzeitgeist's reviews first (he's reviewed A LOT of classes). He's got a knack for reviewing and heavily tests most things before he reviews it. You can trust his opinions.

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To answer your original question, all three of the Gish classes operate differently in my experience. The magus mostly locks you into one style of combat if you want to use your abilities effectively, dishes out some serious burst damage, and goes down like a porcelain doll if he doesn't have his spells up. The Battles Scion plays like an arcane paladin, he has better armor, a spell like ability to cast force blasts, and mostly uses his spells to augment his abilities. An Archon is very much like an Eldritch Knight blown out to 20 levels. I haven't had the opportunity to play this one yet, but most people load up on utility spells with them and ignore the damage dealing stuff. They can use rivenspells for extra versatility, the expanded book gives them some amazing options, and they can really hold their own in combat. Honestly, I think versatile the the best word to describe the Archon.

Sadly, I haven't had the opportunity to play the White Necromancer or the Death Mage, but I've always liked the White Necromancer a little bit more due to his archetypes and the way that he plays like a solid support character.

I second the post concerning Interjection Games. They are a top tier producer of material, along with Dreamscarred Press. I typically also allow LRGG material, RGG, and Rite publishing. Good luck and I hope this helps!

Rawrgle wrote:
So then I made a spreadsheet with a list of the classes that are approved of thus far between both groups, studying up where I can so I can try to document differences etc, that way I can try to handle balance issues that may manifest.

System mastery will cause more problems then a class. If you're players have high system mastery, then they're going to be able to break the system with a mere fighter. If they have low (but not non-existent) system mastery then they might be able to make competent characters with "overpowered" classes.

Rawrgle wrote:
But again, got that couple of concerned players about said bloat

How many Paizo base/core/alternate/hybrid classes are there now? 37? Assuming a 5 man party with 4 of those players choosing 3PP classes they will increase the class bloat by 11%. That's not really meaningful.

I don't know about these particular classes. I definitely think reading them either before or after your players have selected them is worthwhile. If you want to be careful about unexpected synergy, disallow multiclassing.

Okay so lots of great feedback from everyone and thank you so much for that. Like the info on the comparisons about the battle scion etc. Also good warning on the whole being more concerned about system mastery. And thank you The Ragi, Aleron and Fafnir for your mentioning and recommending of Interjection Games. I had admittedly never heard of them before this thread. Then I hear about Tinker and one thing leads to another and now I've become aware of a great publisher, so thank you for that.

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